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GGR101H1F 13/09/12

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University of Toronto St. George
Tony Davis

GGR101H1F – Ancient Civilizations and Their Environments 13/09/12 - Environment covers all of ambient influence in the physical, biological and human world o Physical environment includes characteristics of  Atmosphere  Lithosphere  Hydrosphere  Biosphere constrained by elements of physical environment & interactions - Atmosphere composed of nitrogen (78%) & oxygen (20%) o Produces greenhouse effect b/c of small concentrations of CO2, CH4, etc. o Without greenhouse effect: -50 degrees C (not completely man-made phenomenon)  How stable is this composition?  Addition of CO2 due to natural and human activity  How much has it changed through time?  Substantially; climate changed due to proportions of greenhouse gases  What are the consequences of changes in atmospheric chemistry? - Hydrosphere: unique in solar system o Water exists as a solid, liquid or gas (readily exchanges between states)  energy exchanges accompany changes in state (evaporation & condensation & precipitation)  70% globe water-covered – how has that changed through time?  More land above water than there has been in a long time  Changes in the amount of water on the earth = shape and size of the oceans varies  What roles do oceans play in forcing environmental change?  Huge role in climate change  intersection between hydrosphere & atmosphere (energy exchanges occur) - Lithosphere: dynamic w/ hot differentiated interior that drives plate tectonics o How long has plate tectonics been going on?  As long as the earth has had a crust (~3.5 billion years)  Continents constantly moving and changing in location o How does it determine environmental change?  Volcanism = effects global climate, etc. - Biosphere: comprised of plants & animals as well as microbes (most successful of earth’s biota) o Essential to biogeochemical cycles (e.g. The N cycle) o Directly & indirectly influence climate  How to biota influence global environments and what role do they play in environmental change? - Evidence from past earths and enviroments from geologic record  earth is old (4.5 billion yrs) o Environmental change for most of time  Record is thin for 85%  recycled  Most record from marine sediments; most of global surface covered by water (marine env. depositional; land erosional  records don’t persist for as long)  Only 0.6 billion years provide details (time with hard bodies developing at this time  fossils to make statements of envir
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