This topic focuses on Earth's hydrologic cycle, patterns that exist in atmospheric and oceanic currents, the relationship between thermal energy and the currents, and the relative position and movement of the Earth, sun and moon.
The hydrologic cycle illustrates the changing states of water as it moves through the lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.
Thermal energy is transferred as water changes state throughout the cycle. The cycling of water in the atmosphere is an important part of weather patterns on Earth. The rate at which water flows through soil and rock is dependent upon the porosity and permeability of the soil or rock.
Thermal-energy transfers in the ocean and the atmosphere contribute to the formation of currents, which influence global climate patterns.
The sun is the major source of energy for wind, air and ocean currents and the hydrologic cycle. As thermal energy transfers occur in the atmosphere and ocean, currents form. Large bodies of water can influence weather and climate. The jet stream is an example of an atmospheric current and the Gulf Stream is an example of an oceanic current. Ocean currents are influenced by factors other than thermal energy, such as water density, mineral content (such as salinity), ocean floor topography and Earth's rotation. All of these factors delineate global climate patterns on Earth.
The atmosphere has different properties at different elevations and contains a mixture of gases that cycle through the lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.
The atmosphere is held to the Earth by the force of gravity. There are defined layers of the atmosphere that have specific properties, such as temperature, chemical composition and physical characteristics. Gases in the atmosphere include nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide and other trace gases. Biogeochemical cycles illustrate the movement of specific elements or molecules (such as carbon or nitrogen) through the lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.
A solar eclipse is when Earth moves into the shadow of the moon (during a new moon). A lunar eclipse is when the moon moves into the shadow of Earth (during a full moon).
Gravitational force between the Earth and the moon causes daily oceanic tides. When the gravitational forces from the sun and moon align (at new and full moons) spring tides occur. When the gravitational forces of the sun and moon are perpendicular (at first and last quarter moons), neap tides occur.
LS Life Science
This topic focuses on the impact of matter and energy transfer within the biotic component of ecosystems.
Matter is transferred continuously between one organism to another and between organisms and their physical environments.
Plants use the energy in light to make sugars out of carbon dioxide and water (photosynthesis). These materials can be used and immediately stored for later use. Organisms that eat plants break down plant structures to produce the materials and energy they need to survive. Then they are consumed by other organisms.
Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; the number and types of species fluctuate over time. Disruptions, deliberate or inadvertent, to the physical (abiotic) or biological (biotic) components of an ecosystem impact the composition of an ecosystem.
Energy can be transformed or transferred but is never lost.
When energy is transferred from one system to another, the quantity of energy before transfer equals the quantity of energy after transfer. When energy is transformed from one form to another, the total amount of energy remains the same.