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Energy Cycles by Mind Map: Energy Cycles

1. 9. How the Nitrogen Cycle works

1.1. Nitrogen is one of 5 chemical elements required for life. The largest store of it is in the atmosphere as gas. Nitrogen can also be stored in oceans, terrestrial ecosystems, waterways and as organic matter in soil. The three processes that cycle nitrogen are nitrogen fixation, nitrification and uptake.

1.1.1. Nitrogen fixation is the conversion of nitrogen as gas into a compound containing nitrate and ammonium, both usable by plants. It is converted in the atmosphere by lightning, in the soil by bacteria and in the water by cyanobacteria. Nitrification is when nitrifying bacteria convert ammonium into nitrates.The nitrates then enter plant roots through uptake. Then animals will eat the plants, Nitrogen can be returned to the atmosphere by denitrification or volcanic eruptions. Denitrification is where nitrates are converted back to gas by denitrifying bacteria.

1.1.2. Excess nitrogen enters waterways and washes into lakes and oceans, eventually getting trapped in sedimentary rocks. It will not be released until the rocks undergo hundreds of years of weathering.

2. 10. How the Carbon cycle works

2.1. Carbon is one of the 5 chemical elements required for life. Carbon is stored in many different locations called sinks. Short term storage: aquatic and terrestrial organisms, in the atmosphere and in the top layers of the land and ocean sediments. Long term storage: middle and lower ocean layers and in coal, oil and gas deposits in land and ocean sediments.

2.1.1. Carbon is cycled through ecosystems by photosynthesis, cellular respiration, decomposition, ocean processes and eruptions and fires.

3. 11. How living things depend on non living things

3.1. Living things (biotic) need non living things (abiotic) to survive. Space, light, heat, water, air, shelter, sunlight and soil are important abiotic factors for organisms. Living things meet their needs from abiotic things in ecosystems.

4. 12. How human effect the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycle

4.1. Human activities can upset the natural balance of these cycles. Land clearing, agriculture, urban expansion, mining, industry and motorized transportation can all increase the levels of nutrients more quickly than the stores absorb them. This can have unexpected consequences like acid precipitation and algae blooms. Algae blooms are huge numbers of algae from excess nitrogen in the water. Algae blooms use up all the CO2 and O2 and block sunlight, killing many aquatic organisms and can also produce neurotoxins that are poisonous to animals.

5. 13. Living things break down other living things to recycle nutrients in nutrient cycles

5.1. Decomposition is where decomposers break down dead bodies. When any organism dies, fungi and bacteria get to work breaking it down. Decomposition releases nutrients into the air, soil and water. This allows the nutrients to be recycled, which is vital to the different nutrient cycles. Living things capture these liberated nutrients and the cycle keeps going.

6. 14. Bioaccumulation

6.1. Bioaccumulation is the gradual build up over time of a chemical in a living organism or food chain. This occurs either because the chemical is taken up faster than it can be used, or because the chemical cannot be broken down for use by the organism (cannot be metabolized). Pesticides and compounds from industrial smokestacks and automobile emissions are all examples of chemicals that can't be broken down and will stay in the food chain. While the amount of pollutant might have been small enough not to cause any damage in the lowest levels of the food web, the biomagnified amount might cause serious damage to organisms higher in the food web. This is known as biomagnification.

7. 15. Top predators have more toxins than things lower on the food chain

7.1. Organisms lower on the food chain pick up small amounts of the toxin in their life time. Then organisms higher on the food chain will eat many of these lower organisms causing them to have a bigger toxic build up in their bodies. So when it gets to the top predators, they will have a much larger build up of toxins in their body than the organisms lower on the food chain.

8. 16. How all cycles are connected to each other

8.1. All the cycles rely on each other and are all connected in some way. Water is a big connection between all the cycles. They all involve or need water in some way. Most of them also all use decomposers to get nutrients out of dead organisms to continue the cycle. But the biggest connection is that they all are a continuous rotation of nutrients vital to living organisms and the world.

9. 1. Solar Energy Budget

9.1. Energy flow in and out of the atmosphere must be balanced to have stable global temperatures.

9.2. Earth's energy Budget

9.3. Anything that changes the amount of incoming or outgoing energy will change global temperatures.

10. 2. How Wind Works

10.1. Wind is moving air. It is produced by the uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun. Since the earth’s surface is made of various land and water formations, it absorbs the sun’s radiation unevenly.

10.1.1. The parts of the Earth that receive direct rays from the sun all year are always warm. Other places that receive indirect rays have a colder climate. Warm air, which weighs less than cold air, rises. Then cool air moves down and replaces the rising warm air. This movement of air is what causes wind.

11. 3. The Coriolis effect

11.1. Wind does not blow in a straight line. Instead, it follows a curved path. The curvature of wind is caused by the rotation of the Earth. The Earth rotates faster at the Equator than it does at the poles. This is because the Earth is wider at the Equator. A point on the Equator has farther to travel in a day. The Coriolis Effect causes winds to curve to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere, from the perspective of someone standing on the surface.

11.1.1. This means that hurricanes and other storms swirl counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

12. 4. High Pressure and Low pressure Systems

12.1. Areas of high and low pressure are caused by ascending and descending air. As air warms, it rises leading to low pressure at the surface. As air cools, it descends leading to high pressure at the surface.

12.1.1. In areas of high pressure the air is descending, which reduces the formation of clouds and leads to light winds and settled weather conditions.

12.1.2. In areas of low pressure the air is rising. As it rises and cools, water vapor condenses to form clouds and perhaps precipitation. This is why low pressure areas often have unsettling weather.

13. 5. How the water cycle works

13.1. The same water molecules have been transferred time and time again since the beginning. Water evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises into the atmosphere, cools and condenses into rain or snow in clouds, and falls again to the surface as precipitation. The water falling on land collects in rivers and lakes, soil, and rock, and much of it flows back into the oceans, where it will once more evaporate.

13.1.1. The water cycle is continuous - the water never stops moving.

14. 6. How humans effect the water cycle

14.1. Major human processes affecting the water cycle on land. R = storage of water in reservoirs; G = groundwater mining; I = irrigation; U = urbanization; C = combustion; D = deforestation; W = wetlands.

14.2. What we do to this system affects everything within it. As we place different stresses on this system, we run the risk of altering or overloading it and causing serious harm.

14.2.1. Humans effect the water cycle by damming rivers for hydroelectricity, using water for farming, deforestation (the removal of trees) and the burning of fossil fuels. These all cause serious consequences to how the water cycle works. Like causing droughts, flooding, the increasing of evaporation, melting of ice or other processes of the water cycle that adversely affect the climate on Earth.

14.2.2. We add substances to the water – intentionally or not. As precipitation falls on the ground and moves into rivers and creeks, it picks up a whole range of pollutants. These contaminants may infect plant or animal life including human beings, or reduce their ability to grow and reproduce.

15. 7. How solar energy effects the water cycle

15.1. The sun is what makes the water cycle work. The sun provides the heat that causes liquid and frozen water to evaporate into water vapor gas. This process is a large part of the water cycle. The sun also causes sublimation to occur, which causes snow to evaporate directly into water vapor.

16. 8. How the Phosphorus Cycle works

16.1. Phosphorus is one of 5 chemical elements required for life and the only one from sedimentary rock rather than the atmosphere. Phosphorus is trapped in phosphates in the rocks and can be released by weathering.

16.1.1. There are two types of weathering: chemical and physical. Chemical weathering is the release of phosphates via acid precipitation or lichens. Physical weathering is the release of phosphates via wind, water and freezing. After the phosphates are released, they are then absorbed by plants which are then eaten by animals. When the plant or animal dies, it decays, and the organic phosphate is returned to the soil.