← Environmental Systems Ch 5 Export Options Alphabetize Word-Def Delimiter Tab Comma Custom Def-Word Delimiter New Line Semicolon Custom Data Copy and paste the text below. It is read-only. Select All carbon cycle the organic circulation of carbon from the atmosphere into organisms and back again combustion the act of burning, releasing CO2 and H2O into the environment. nitrogen cycle the transfer of nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil, to living organisms, and back to the atmosphere nitrogen fixation conversion of nitrogen gas to ammonia nitrification conversion of ammonia to nitrate assimilation the biological conversion of nitrates, ammonia, or ammonium into proteins and other nitrogen-containing compounds by plants. also the conversion of plant proteins into animal proteins. ammonification the conversion of organic nitrogen to ammonia and ammonium ions denitrification converts nitrate to nitrogen gas phosphorus cycle global circulation of phosphorus from the environments to living organisms and back to the environment sulfer cycle global circulation of sulfer from the environments to living organisms and back to the environment hydrologic cycle global circulation of water from the environments to living organisms and back to the environment transpiration the emission of water vapor from the leaves of plants ground water water stored in underground caverns and porous layers of rock. runoff the movement of surface water from land to rivers, lakes, wetlands, and ultimately the ocean aerosols tiny particles of air pollution produced from fossil fuel combustion and the burning of forests. albedo the proportional reflectance of solar energy from the Earth's surface, commonly represented as a percentage. troposphere the layer of atmosphere closest to earths surface. stratosphere contains a layer of ozone that absorbs much of the suns damaging UV radiation mesosphere lowest temperatures in the atmosphere thermosphere has steadily rising temperatures because the air molecules absorb high energy radiation exosphere outermost layer of the atmosphere, converges with interplanetary space. winds complex horizontal movements that result in part from differencess in atmospheric pressure and from the Coriolis effect. Coriolis effect the influence on Earth's rotation which tends to deflect fluids (air and H2O) toward the right in the N hemi and toward the left in the S hemi. prevailing winds major surface winds that blow more or less continually. polar easterlies prevailing winds that blow from the NE neat the N pole or the SW near the S pole westerlies winds that blow in the midlatitudes from the SW in the N hemi or the NW in the southern hemi trade winds tropical winds that blow from the NE in the N hemi or the SE in the S hemi currents result from prevailing winds, the coriolis effect, the position of landmasses and the varying density of water. gyres large, circular ocean current systems that often encompass an entire ocean basin ocean conveyor belt the present circulation of shallow and deep currents ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) a periodic, large-scale warming of surface waters of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean that temporarily alters both ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns. El Niña surface water in the eastern Pacific becoming unusually cool. weather conditions in the atmosphere at a given place and time climate the average weather conditions that occur in a place over a period of years rain shadow refers to dry conditions that occur on the leeward side of a mountain barrier tornado powerful, rotation funnel of air associated with severe thunderstorms tropical cyclone giant, rotating tropical storm with high winds plate tectonics the study of the processes by which the lithospheric plates move over the asthenosphere. plate boundaries sites of intense geologic activity, such as mountain building, volcanoes, and earthquakes.