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18 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
What is an open system? Define it and give an example
An open system is one in which energy and matter can both enter and leave. Examples: uncovered tea.
What is a closed system? Define it and give an example.
In a closed system, energy can enter and leave but matter cannot. Example: earth (although meteors enter and hydrogen atoms and space ships leave).
What is a model? What is a system?
A model is a representation of something - a model of a house, etc. A system is a kind of model that can be studied completely separately - it is a self-contained model.
What are the four spheres of the Earth and what do they contain?
atmosphere (layer of gases around the earth), geosphere (everything on the earth itself except water), hydrosphere (all of the water on earth including ice, streams, lakes, rivers and oceans) and biosphere (all living things).
What are the three cycles on Earth?
Water, Carbon and Energy cycles.
Trace the water cycle from the ocean back to the ocean.
1.water evaporates due to the sun
2.clouds form in the atmosphere
3. when temperatures drop, clouds condense and rain falls
4. rain forms run off that goes into lakes and streams, which run to the ocean.
If water evaporates, what is transporation?
water that is "breathed out" of leaves on plants.
What is evapotranspiration?
the cycling of water into the atmosphere by evaporation and transporation
How does carbon enter the atmosphere?
1. as carbon dioxide when animals exhale;
2. from decaying organisms;
3. fires;
4. volcanic ash;
5. from burning "fossil fuels" like oil and coal.
How is carbon removed from the atmosphere?
1. through photosynthesis of plants and phytoplankton (they take in oxygen and change it to carbon dioxide);
2. through ocean waves - they dissolve carbon dioxide from the air into the water; the carbon dioxide then changes into other carbon compounds and shellfish use it for their shells;
The water and carbon cycles are circular. How is the energy cycle different?
It is a balance rather than a circle.
Explain the energy budget.
The amount of energy that enters a system should equal the amount that leaves. Otherwise the system will get too hot or too cold.
Where does the Earth's energy come from?
1. solar - the sun (99%)
2. geothermal - the earth's warmth
3. tidal - the energy formed when the sun and moon pull on the ocean's tides.
What is the First Law of Thermaldynamics?
Energy can never be created or desgtroyed, only changed from one form to another (for example: from solar to heat to plants to burning of oil or coal)
What is the Second Law of Thermaldynamics?
Everytime energy changes form it "degrades" or becomes less useful, less concentrated.
What is "albedo."
The percent of energy that is reflected back to the source (in other words, not changed to other forms and used). Different parts of the earth reflect more or less energy - snow (white) reflects a lot so have a high albedo, forests (dark) reflect much less.
In the summer you want to wear colors with a high or low albedo?
A high albedo - so it will reflect more of the sun's energy back and you will stay cooler.
When the snow melts, does a mountain's albedo go up or down?
Down because the darker colors of leaves and earth don't reflect as much.