What is a system?
a set of inter-related events or components working together to produce an outcome
what parts does a system consist of?
inputs, stores, outputs, flows
what type of system is the water cycle? Why?
a closed system water is neither created or destroyed on a large scale
what is a closed system?
energy is transferred beyond the system but not matter
what type of system is the carbon cycle? Why?
closed system carbon is neither created or destroyed, it just cycles
what is dynamic equilibrium? give an example?
when inputs and outputs are balanced when both constructive and destructive waves act on a beach, but the sediment remains broadly the same.
what are the five spheres of earth systems?
atmosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere
Complete the following negative feedback example; -increase in CO2 -increase in temperature -increased plant growth
- increased uptake of co2 from plants -reduced co2 in atmosphere
complete the following positive feedback example: -increase in temperature -increase in ocean temperature -dissolved co2 released from warmer oceans
-increase in co2 - further atmospheric warming
Of the worlds water, what percentage is ocean water and what percentage is freshwater?
97% ocean water 3% freshwater
Describe the distribution of the earth's freshwater in each different stores? Clue; the answers are percentages
79% ice caps and glaciers 20% groundwater 1% easily accessible surface freshwater
what are the different flows in the water cycle?
-River channel flow - Surface run-off -Infiltration -Percolation - Through flow (driven by gravity) - Stemflow (interception) - Groundwater flow (
what is an aquifer?
saturated, permeable rock that groundwater can flow through
what is the water table?
the upper layer of saturated rock
what is a confined aquifer?
an aquifer that is trapped between both permeable and impermeable rocks. Hence, it is highly pressurised and not affected by drought conditions.
What is an unconfined aquifer?
A aquifer that includes the water table which is at atmospheric pressure and therefore able to rise and fall - hence it is vulnerable to change in drought conditions and due to water abstraction.
what are the stores in the water cycle?
Lithosphere hydrosphere cryosphere atmosphere
Which store does water remain in for the longest?
Deep Groundwater (up to 10,000 years) Ocean (around 3000 or more years)
How long does water remain in glaciers?
which stores hold water for the shortest amount of time?
atmosphere - nine days soil water (1-2 months) rivers - 2-6 months
What is water vapour?
the most common form of atmospheric water which absorbs and reflects incoming solar radiation. It is a greenhouse gas!!!
does warm air or cold air hold more water vapour?
warm air holds more water vapour
How can climate change cause an alteration in the magnitude of water cycle stores?
at the peak of the last ice age the magnitude of cryospheric stores increased. In warmer periods the magnitude of the hydrosphere and atmosphere increases.
Complete this positive feedback loop: - rising sea levels - melting ice shelves
- further rise in sea level
what is evaporation? what is evapotranspiration?
the physical process of liquid becoming a gas - heat energy is needed and transpiration is when liquid is lost from a plant's stomata. Precipitation occurs when the air reaches its maximum water carrying capacity.
what is condensation?
the physical process whereby gas and water vapour become a liquid. It occurs when air cools and it less able to hold water vapour (known as the dew point). Condensation contributes to the formation of clouds. Precipitation occurs when air can no longer hold the condensed water
what is adiabatic cooling?
when the volume of air increases as it rises and expands but there is no addition in heat - this leads to precipitation
what is orthographic rainfall?
adiabatic cooling - when air is forced to rise over hills and mountains and cools to produce precipitation - the shelter of hills and mountains leads to rainfall only on one side
what is frontal rainfall?
when air masses of different temperatures meet, the warm air rises over the cool sinking air and produces precipitation
what is convectional rainfall?
when warm air rises from hot surfaces on a sunny day