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End of chapter exercises

What is the hydrosphere? How does it interact with other global systems?

The hydrosphere is all the water bodies on Earth. The hydrosphere includes rivers, lakes, streams, oceans and groundwater. The hydrosphere interacts with the atmosphere, the lithosphere and the biosphere. In the atmosphere water from lakes, rivers, streams etc. evaporates into the atmosphere. This evaporated water later returns to the earth in the form of rain or snow. In the lithosphere water helps break down rocks into smaller fragments (this is weathering). Water then transports these fragments to other places (erosion). These two processes, weathering and erosion, shape the face of the earth. In the biosphere, plants absorb water through their roots and then this water returns to the hydrosphere through transpiration (evaporation of water from plant leaves).   

Why is the hydrosphere important?

  • Water is part of living cells and so all living organsims need water
  • Water provides a habitat for many animals and plants
  • Water helps to regulate climate
  • Humans need water to drink and for their biological processes

Write a one page essay on the importance of water and what can be done to ensure that we still have drinkable water in 50 years time.

Answer should include the following points:

  • Why water is needed for life, e.g. is part of cells, provides a habitat, regulates climate, drinking water, etc.
  • Conservation of water e.g. taking a shower instead of a bath, using a low flow shower head, using minimal flush toilets, using washing machines with a full load, etc.
  • Dealing with pollution, e.g. not throwing rubbish into rivers, educating companies to not throw waste into rivers, etc.
  • Decreasing the amount of water that humans use