36 terms

AP Environmental Science Unit 3- Nutrient Cycles and Climate

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ammonification
decomposers convert animal/plant waste into ammonia
Kyoto Protocol
Agreement among 150 nations requiring developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Failed policy because US did not sign.
greenhouse effect
Natural situation in which heat is retained in Earth's atmosphere by carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other gases
coriolis effect
Causes moving air and water to turn left in the southern hemisphere and turn right in the northern hemisphere due to Earth's rotation
latent heat
exchanged when water changes from one phase to another (solid, liquid, gas), transfers from Earth's surface to the atmosphere
aerosols
tiny solid particles or liquid droplets that remain suspended in the atmosphere for a long time
La Nina
A climate event in the eastern Pacific Ocean in which surface waters are colder than normal.
El Nino
A warm ocean current that flows along the coast of Peru once every seven to fourteen years
deforestation
decreases intake of CO2 by plants, disrupts photosynthesis and carbon cycle
eutrophication
excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen.
fertilizer
A substance that provides nutrients to help crops grow better
combustion
A rapid reaction between oxygen and fuel that results in fire
assimilation
Nitrate (NO3) is converted to proteins (amino acids) and DNA (nucleic acids) in plants
biomass
A measure of the total dry mass of organisms within a particular region
photosynthesis
Conversion of light energy from the sun into chemical energy.
nitrogen fixation
Process of converting nitrogen gas into nitrogen compounds that plants can absorb and use
nitrification
ammonia is converted to nitrate ions (NO3-).
denitrification
Conversion of nitrates into nitrogen gas
decomposer
An organism that breaks down wastes and dead organisms
cellular respiration
Process that releases energy by breaking down glucose and other food molecules in the presence of oxygen
chemical energy
Energy stored in chemical bonds
carbon sink
A natural environment that absorbs and stores more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it releases, which offsets greenhouse gas emissions.
smelting
Process in which a desired metal is separated from the other elements in an ore mineral.
ppm
unit of concentration (parts per million)
ppb
unit of concentration (parts per billion)
insoluble
unable to dissolve in water
guano
bat droppings, used as a fertilizer due to a high phosphorus content
infiltration
water absorbing slowly into the soil
run-off
water that is diverted to water bodies due to concrete and asphalt
thermal expansion
As the ocean gets warmer, the liquid water molecules spread apart taking up more space
transpiration
Evaporation of water from the leaves of a plant
CH4
methane
CO2
carbon dioxide
O3
ozone
NO2
nitrogen dioxide
CFC's
chloro-fluoro carbons