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The Hydrosphere and Biosphere. Why is water so important to life? Where can we find life on Earth?. The Hydrosphere. The hydrosphere includes: The water on or near the Earth’s surface All glaciers and icecaps The water found in rock beneath the Earth’s surface The clouds in the sky.

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The hydrosphere and biosphere

The Hydrosphere and Biosphere

Why is water so important to life?

Where can we find life on Earth?

The hydrosphere
The Hydrosphere

  • The hydrosphere includes:

  • The water on or near the Earth’s surface

  • All glaciers and icecaps

  • The water found in rock beneath the Earth’s surface

  • The clouds in the sky

The water cycle
The Water Cycle

  • Water is constantly being cycled from the ocean to the air, then on land, and then back again.

  • This process is the water cycle.

The water cycle1
The Water Cycle

  • First, water evaporates from the Earth’s surface, forming clouds.

    • The majority of this water comes from the oceans.

  • Then, the water condenses, combining with dust to form droplets.

The water cycle2
The Water Cycle

  • Next, the droplets become heavy enough to fall back to Earth – a process we call precipitation.

    • Includes rain, snow, sleet and hail.

The water cycle3
The Water Cycle

  • Finally, precipitation becomes runoff, and may either:

  • Collect in freshwater storage (lakes, ponds, etc.)

  • Becomes groundwater

  • Returns to the ocean

Earth s oceans
Earth’s Oceans

  • Technically, the Earth’s oceans are all united into one joint ocean. Geographically, however, the joint ocean is divided into five smaller oceans. Together, they cover 70% of the Earth’s surface.

    • From largest to smallest: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (around Antarctica), Artic.

Earth s oceans1
Earth’s Oceans

  • Ocean water is laden with salt and other solutes. This is due to erosion and deposition, as well as underwater eruptions.

    • The majority of these solutes is sodium chloride (table salt).

  • The salt content of the ocean is 3.5% of the ocean’s weight. It’s enough to severely dehydrate and kill anyone who drinks it.

Earth s oceans2
Earth’s Oceans

  • Note that the oceans are less salty in areas that get a lot of rain, or that receive freshwater.

  • Also, the oceans are saltier in areas where water evaporates rapidly.

  • Why?

Earth s oceans3
Earth’s Oceans

  • The ocean can be divided into three areas based on relative temperature.

  • Surface zone

  • Thermocline

  • Deep water

Earth s oceans4
Earth’s Oceans

  • Light only penetrates so deep, so only the top layer is relatively warm.

  • Temperature drops dramatically in the thermocline layer.

  • The deep zone is very dark and cold.

Earth s oceans5
Earth’s Oceans

  • The oceans are critical for regulating the Earth’s temperature.

  • The ocean absorbs more than half the solar radiation that reaches the surface.

Earth s oceans6
Earth’s Oceans

  • Due to water’s high specific heat, it absorbs and releases heat much more slowly than the ground does.

  • This keeps the Earth’s temperature relatively constant.

Exit ticket
Exit Ticket

  • Name all four types of precipitation.

  • Most of the water vapor in clouds came from the _____.

  • Runoff (fallen precipitation) ends up in three possible places. Name them.

  • In which layer of the ocean does temperature drop the fastest?

  • How does the ocean moderate Earth’s temperature?

Ocean currents
Ocean Currents

  • Ocean currents are the motions of water.

  • Both surface and deep currents exist.

  • Surface currents happen at or near the surface, and are wind-driven.

Ocean currents1
Ocean Currents

  • Surface currents may be warm- or cold-water currents. Currents of widely differing temperature do NOT readily mix.

    • This means that a warm-water current can maintain its temperature over long distances.

Ocean currents2
Ocean Currents

  • Note that surface currents can affect local temperatures, depending on whether they are warm or cold.

  • Warm currents tend to make moderate climates, and cold currents lower temperatures.

Ocean currents3
Ocean Currents

  • For instance, the Scilly Isles (England) and Newfoundland (Canada) are at similar latitudes, but the Scilly Isles are far warmer, due to the presence of a warm water current.

Ocean currents4
Ocean Currents

  • Deep currents are very slow, stream-like water movements along the ocean floor.

  • When cold, dense water sinks under warm water, these currents form.

Fresh water
Fresh Water

  • About 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh water, but much of that is frozen in large glaciers.

  • The remainder is found in surface freshwater and groundwater, as well as the atmosphere.

Fresh water1
Fresh Water

  • A river system is a network of streams and rivers that drains an area. Also, it contains all the land being drained.

  • Tributaries are smaller rivers that feed into large, central rivers.


  • Sometimes, runoff infiltrates the ground and collects as groundwater.

  • Aquifers are rock layers that are porous. They allow for water flow, and even store water.


  • The surface at the entry of an aquifer is called a recharge zone.

  • Aquifers are found under most of the continental U.S.

Exit ticket1
Exit Ticket

  • There are two types of ocean currents. Name them.

  • ________ currents can be classified as warm- or cold-water.

  • ______-water currents moderate local temperatures.

  • What do we call small rivers that feed into bigger, central rivers?

  • ______ are layers of porous rock that allow for water flow and storage.

The biosphere
The Biosphere

  • The biosphere is the narrow portion of Earth capable of supporting life.

  • It contains the outermost geosphere, most of the hydrosphere, and the innermost atmosphere.

The biosphere1
The Biosphere

  • Recall from Chapter 1 that we discussed Earth as a closed system – one that could not gain or lose matter.

  • However, closed systems CAN gain and lose energy. The sun provides energy to plants and other producers. As organisms are consumed, energy is transferred to the consumer.

  • In the process, much energy is lost as heat, which is lost to space.