Sea surface heights during El Niño and La Niña conditions, derived from TOPEX/POSEIDON and Jason-1 measurements.
Click on image for full size
Images produced by Dr. Victor Zlotnicki, Dr. Lee-Lueng Fu, and Akiko Hayashi, of the Oceans Research Element at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Atmospheric Science Literacy - Essential Principle 5
Earth's atmosphere continuously interacts with the other components of the Earth System.
Fundamental Concept 5.1
Earth's atmosphere exchanges energy and matter within the Earth System through physical processes such as photosynthesis, the water cycle, biogeochemical cycles, the rock cycle, and ocean currents.
Fundamental Concept 5.2
Interactions and feedbacks among the components of the Earth System can produce short-term oscillations (such as El Niño and La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean), long-term changes in the state of the system (such as global warming), and abrupt, unexpected events (such as sudden release of methane from permafrost).
Fundamental Concept 5.3
Earth's atmosphere plays an important role in biogeochemical cycles in the Earth System. For example, the atmosphere is a reservoir of carbon in the Earth System, storing carbon released from natural processes and fossil fuel burning. Plants extract carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
Fundamental Concept 5.4
As a result of the long time-scales inherent in some Earth System processes, the impacts of some events may be felt only slowly throughout the Earth System and may continue to be influential long after the original event has changes. For example, because of the long time-scale of deep ocean circulation, an abrupt regional change in ocean salinity may take centuries to be reflected in the global circulation of the ocean.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Winter 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on Earth System science, including articles on student inquiry, differentiated instruction, geomorphic concepts, the rock cycle, and much more!
You might also be interested in:
The first time people got a glimpse of the whole Earth was December 1968. Apollo 8 astronauts, en route to and from the Moon, took pictures of the Earth from space. In their photographs, the Earth looks...more
Photosynthesis is the name of the process by which autotrophs (self-feeders) convert water, carbon dioxide, and solar energy into sugars and oxygen. It is a complex chemical process by which plants and...more
The water at the ocean surface is moved primarily by winds. Large scale winds move in specific directions because they are affected by Earth’s spin and the Coriolis Effect. Because Earth spins constantly,...more
Sometimes there is a disruption in Earth’s climate system that might last a few weeks or a few months or a year or more. During these events, the air in part of the atmosphere changes the way it circulates...more
Though not the largest kingdom, with a mere 300,000 species catalogued, many might argue that the Kingdom Plantae just may be the most important group of living organisms. In the process known as "photosynthesis",...more
The world has several oceans, the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Arctic, and the Southern Ocean. While we have different names for them, they are not really separate. There are not walls between...more
About 70% of the Earth is covered with water, and we find 97% of that water in the oceans. Everyone who has taken in a mouthful of ocean water while swimming knows that the ocean is really salty. All water...more