Atmospheric pollution from major volcanic eruptions can influence the global climate over one to two years. Explosive volcanic eruptions can inject large quantities of dust and sulphur dioxide, in gaseous form, to an altitude of over 10 miles into the atmosphere (the stratosphere), where the sulphur dioxide is rapidly converted into secondary sulphuric acid aerosols. Whereas volcanic pollution from smaller eruptions, ejected only a few miles into the atmosphere, is removed within days by rain, the volcanic dust and aerosols in the stratosphere may remain for up to two years, gradually spreading over much of the globe by winds. Volcanic pollution results in a 5 to 10% reduction in direct sunlight, largely through scattering as a result of the highly reflective sulphuric acid aerosols. Large eruptions can bring about a short but noticeable global cooling of up to 0.3°C. Immense lava flows, now known as the Deccan Traps, released huge quantities of gases, including sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. It is possible the longer term changes in the amount of volcanic activity on the Earth may explain incidences of longer term climate change during Earth History.

El Niño

El Nino, which affects wind and rainfall patterns, has been blamed for droughts and floods in countries around the Pacific Rim. El Nino refers to the irregular warming of surface water in the Pacific. The warmer water pumps energy and moisture into the atmosphere, altering global wind and rainfall patterns. The phenomenon has caused tornadoes in Florida, smog in Indonesia, and forest fires in Brazil.
Devastation Caused by a El Nino-generated tornado in Florida
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Smog In Indonesia
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El Nino Causes Forest Fires in Brazil
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La Niña


Biosphere Process

There are many different ways that the plants, animals and other life on our planet, affect the biosphere therefore our climate. Some produce greenhouse gases that trap heat and aid global warming.
· Plants: The greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere by plants as they make their food by photosynthesis. During the night, plants release some carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They take much more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than they put in.
· Farm animals: The greenhouse gas methane is made as farm animals, such as cattle and sheep, digest their food.
· Wetlands and rice patties: Microbes in natural wetlands and rice paddies produce methane gas.
· Factories and power plants: carbon dioxide gas is releasing into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned to make the power needed for most factories and power plants.
· Cars and trucks: Carbon dioxide gas is released when fossil fuels are burned to power cars and trucks.
· Fertilizers: The greenhouse gas nitrous oxide is produced when human-produced fertilizers breakdown in the soil.
· Wildfires: Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere as wildfires burn. However, if a forest of similar size grows again, about the same amount of carbon that was added to the atmosphere during the fire will be removed. So, fires affect greenhouse gases in the short term, but not on long timescales.

Coriolis Effect



1.1 Biomes
Every environment contains biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components. Biotic components are living organisms such as plants and animals. Abiotic components are non-living, such as sunlight and soil. A biome is a large region of the biosphere that has similar biotic and abiotic components. There are aquatic biomes and terrestrial biomes. Biomes are classifies according to their temperature and amount of moisture they receive, the type of plants that grow, and the interactions between biotic and abiotic components. Plants and animal make adaptations to survive in particular biomes. Latitude affects the temperature, precipitation and amount of sunlight a biome receives. Elevation also affects temperature; the higher up you go, the colder and thinner the air gets. Ocean currents affect temperature and precipitation, they have a big influence on biomes located along the coast of continents. Climate is the average pattern of weather of a region recorded over a long period of time. Organisms make adaption to better survive and reproduce. Structural adaption is a physical feature of an organism body that helps it survive. Physiological adaption is a chemical event inside an organism the enables it to survive. And a behavioral adaption is unique things an organism does to survive.
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Did you know wolves maintain a constant body temperature (physiological adaption).

1.2 Ecosystems
Biomes can be divided into smaller divisions called ecosystems. Ecosystems have biotic components that interact with abiotic components. Ecosystems can be vast, or the size of a tidepool. Within an ecosystem are habitats, which is the place in which an organism lives. Plants and animal cannot survive without abiotic components such as oxygen, water, light and soil. For example most organisms contain about 50-90% water, no organism can survive without water. A species is a group of closely related organisms that can reproduce with one another, a population refers to all the members of a certain species in a ecosystem, and a community is all the population of different species that interact in a specific are or ecosystem. Species constantly interact with each other. There are three types of interactions, commensalism (+/0), mutualism (+/+), and parasitism (+/-). A niche is a specific role an organism plays in an ecosystem. Competition is a harmful interaction between organisms. Animals can compete for habitat or food resources. Predation is where a predator hunts a prey and each have specific adaption to benefit their survival. An ecosystem with biodiversity is a healthy ecosystem.
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Did you know humans can have a negative affect on biodiversity.

2.1 Energy Flow in Ecosystems
Carbohydrates are important energy resources for plants and animals. Biomass refers to the total mass of plants, animals, fungi and bacteria in a given area. The flow of energy from ecosystem to organism to another organism is called energy flow. Decomposers, for example bacteria, change waste and dead organisms into usable nutrients. Food chains show the flow of energy from plant to animal or animal to animal. At the first trophic level of the chain is primary producers (plants). Then at the second level are primary consumers (herbivores); they gain energy from eating the primary producers. Then, at the third level, come the secondary consumers (carnivores), which feed off primary consumers. At the final level are tertiary consumers, which are the top carnivores that eat secondary and primary consumers. Consumers that eat both plants and animals are called omnivores. Many animals have more than one way of obtaining energy, and therefore are in interconnected food chains called food webs.
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This ecological pyramid shows the loss of energy from one trophic level to another.
Did you know that almost all energy is originated from the sun.

2.2 Nutrient Cycles in Ecosystems
Nutrients are chemicals required for growth and other life processes. Stores are were nutrients are accumulated over a short or long period of time (ex. atmosphere, oceans, land masses). The flow of nutrients in and out of stores is called nutrient cycles, these usually remain balanced without human interference. Human activities (agriculture, mining) cause nutrient to cycle faster than normal, causing increased amount of nutrients in the atmosphere or oceans that can have a significant effect on the environment. Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Phosphorus are important elements for life. Carbon is necessary for chemical reaction that sustain life (ex. cellular respiration). It can be found in plants, oceans, soil, coal, oil/gas and in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Some ways it is cycled through our ecosystem is by, photosynthesis, respiration, ocean processes and volcanic eruption. Nitrogen is important for life processes in human cells, muscle functions in animals, and growth in plants. Nitrogen is mainly stored in oceans, soil and the atmosphere. Nitrogen has to be made available to organisms through processes such as nitrogen fixation, nitrification and uptake. . Phosphorus helps root development, stem strength and seed production in plants and helps develop strong bone tissue in humans. Phosphorus is in the atmosphere, is trapped in phosphate rocks, and sediments on the ocean floor. It is brought up into soil by weathering, where it can be quickly absorbed by plants. Phosphate on the ocean floor can remain trapped for millions of years.
Did you know that human activities can disrupt and have a negative effect on nutrient cylces. Changes such as in weather can occur which can seriously effect biodiversity.
Did you know eight scientist conducted a biosphere experiment in 1991 to see what it would be like to colonize on other planets. This mostly ended up in failure as there were losses in population and plant life.