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Midterm Notes

School of Environment
Course Code
Jack Parkinson
Study Guide

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Earths Environmental Systems:
Scales and Cycles
The Earth is 4.5 Billion Years Old.
97% of history predates the dinosaurs.
Human impact so large for such a short period.
The Earth:
The crust, mantle and the core
Crust + Upper Mantle = Lithosphere.
Earths internal heat drives convection currents that force soft rocks upward with
warmth and downward with cooling.
Plat Tectonics:
Mantle movement drives plates of crust.
15 Tectonic Plates.
Move about 2-15cm per year.
Large scale upward + downward movement of lithosphere including horizontal
displacements occurs on fault lines.
Feedback Loops – Positive and Negative:
Positive: Change is pronounced/exists.
Population growth
Disease Endemics
Economic Depression
Negative – Change is Reduced/Non-existent. (Regulated)
Cruise Control

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Body Temperature
Most systems involve negative feedback for stability.
Positive feedback rare – most common with human impact.
(1) Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
(2) When energy is changed from on form to another some is degraded into heat.
Biochemical Cycles:
(1) Carbon
CO2 ------------------------> Sugar ---------------------------- > C02
(Photosynthesis) (Cellular Respiration)
(2) Hydraulic (Water)
Ocean ------ > Atmosphere ------ > Land ------ > Ocean
(3) Nitrogen
Necessary for protein, DNA
Five Steps:
(1) Nitrogen Fixation – Bacteria split atmospheric nitrogen and combine it
with hydrogen.
(2) Nitrification.
(3) Assimilation.
(4) Ammonification.
(5) Dentrification.
(4) Phosphorus
Used in DNA and ATP (Chemical Energy)
Phosphates move through food chain.

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Can stay trapped in lithosphere for millions of years.
Distribution is uneven.
Land ---- > Organism ---- > Organism ----- > Land
The Atmosphere:
Gaseous envelope surrounding the Earth.
Consists of Four Layers
Composed of:
o78% Nitrogen
o27% Oxygen
o0.93 % Argon
o0.04% CO2
oOther gases 0.03%
The Earths Temp. should be -18, but the average Temp is 15.
oFactors that Effect the Temp
Composition of the Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, and Lithosphere
(Air, Water, and Land)
Solar Radiation and Atmospheric Circulation:
Electromagnetic Spectrum: Gamma, X-ray, and Ultraviolet.
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