ENVIRONMENT: THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE STORIES W/MYENVIRONMENTPLACE Chapter 5 Readings

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Department
Environmental Science
Course
EESA01H3
Professor
Carl Mitchell
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 5: Earth Systems and Ecosystem Ecology Systems show several defining properties: System: a network of relationships among parts, elements, or components that interact with and influence one another through the exchange of energy, matter, or information Open systems: systems that receive inputs of both energy and matter and produce outputs of both Closed systems: systems that receive inputs and produce outputs of energy but not matter Energy inputs to Earths environmental systems include solar radiation, heat released by geo-thermal activity, organismal metabolism, human activities (fossil fuel combustion) Information inputs come in form of sensory cues from visual. Olfactory (chemical), magnetic, or thermal signals Feedback loop: when a systems output can serve as input to the same systema circular process o Negative feedback loop: output that results from a system moving in one direction acts as input moves the system in the other direction (i.e. sweat glands) Most systems in nature involve negative feedback loopsenhance stability o Positive feedback loop: rather than stabilizing a systemthey drive it further toward one extreme or another (i.e. exponential growth in human pop. the more people who are born, the more there are to give birth to further peopleincreased output leads to increased output, leading to further increased output) Rare in nature, but common in natural systems altered by human impact Dynamic equilibrium: when processes within a system move in opposing directions at equivalent rates so that their effects balance out Homeostasis: tendency of a system to maintain constant or stable internal conditions Emergent properties: characteristics not evident in the components alone (i.e. you can reduce a tree to its component parts but you would not be able to predict the role that the tree plays in the envir.) Understanding a complex system requires considering multiple subsystems: Best to view the Great LakesSt. Lawrence River watershed as a system One must consider the entire area of land a river drains to comprehend and solve www.notesolution.com
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