1.1 - Conditions for Life on Earth

Thorough notes on Unit 1 Chapter 1 of Environmental Studies for AQA

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  • Created on: 22-01-12 20:26
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1.1 Conditions for Life on Earth
o Early Conditions
WATER = essential for physiological functions (reactions in organism), and environmental processes
Physiological solvent ­ chemical reactions
Transport ­ blood/sap: transports water, CO2, amino acids, waste, etc...
Temperature ­ sweat/vasodilation - Surface freezing of ice prevents solid freezing (albedo)
Specific Heat Capacity (energy needed to heat) ­ High SHC = slow heat/cool = moderation of seasonal
Creation of Aquatic Habitat
Liquid Water ­ mostly above 0 degrees
Enzyme Reactions ­ living organism: 0-40 degrees / thermophilic bacteria found hotter
AMBIENT GASES = C02 ­ photosynthesis & Nitrogen ­ protein synthesis
Energy ­ food webs / water cycle - heat energy: warming the earth
o How Life on Earth has Caused Environmental Change...
Species development has become global community reliant on planetary systems and cycles of nutrients/energy
ATMOSPHERIC OXYGEN ­ atmospheric concentration declined with time due to reactions (oxidation)
Produced by photosynthesis & photolysis (UV cause molecules to split)
Photolysis of Oxygen: monatomic O >> diatomic O = Ozone (allowed land-life)
ATMOSPHERIC C02 ­ essential greenhouse gas, retains atmospheric heat
Produced by respiration and volcanic activity
Without ­ Earth would be too cold... Too much ­ too high to sustain life
Sun = 30% brighter today than beginning of life...
No overheating due to storing carbon in fossil fuels and carbonate rocks!
WATER CYCLE ­ N.B. Transpiration is unavoidable (plants need gas exchange/mineral transport), provide
water vapour to travel inland.
Lithosphere - tectonics
Biosphere - living
Hydrosphere - water


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