Relationship between the atmosphere, ocean and life on Earth
The relationship between the elements involved in the creation of Earth, can be better understood if we trace the origin of the planet. During the first billion years since earth was ever born, its surface was molten, as it cooled the volcanoes belched out massive amounts of carbon dioxide, steam, ammonia and methane. There was no oxygen. The steam condensed to form water which then produced shallow seas. Also there is the evidence that points to bacteria flourishing 3.8 billion years ago which means that life got underway about 700 million years after the Earth was created. Such early forms of life existed in the shallow oceans close to thermal vents. These vents were a source of heat and minerals.
These life forms then started to photosynthesize, which means to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water to food energy and oxygen. This is rather considered an important point in the history of earth because the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was being converted to oxygen. The green plants hence continued producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Most of the carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air got trapped in the sedimentary rocks as carbonates and fossil fuels. The carbon dioxide then dissolved into the oceans. The ammonia and methane in the atmosphere reacted with the oxygen. Nitrogen gas was released from the reaction between ammonia and oxygen, but mainly from living organisms such as denitrifying bacteria. Since the level of oxygen was increasing with the help of photosynthesis, it began reacting with other elements as well. This continued for billions of years and provided for human existence.
Every aspect of earth is interlinked. If seen from the space the earth’s atmosphere looks more like a thin blue line of haze, which if seen from the ground surface appears rather thick. There are layers of the atmosphere and each layer allows for the circulation of gases and particles between the surface and the upper stratosphere. The atmosphere is composed of gases such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen with traces of methane, argon and ozone. Ozone is created as a result of the interaction between ultraviolet rays from the sun and oxygen in the upper layers of the stratosphere. It acts as a shield and allows life to crawl up to the land mass and reproduce.
The relationship between the atmosphere and ocean shall be discussed through the aspect of cloud formation.
The process of cloud formation starts in the tropical and Neotropical oceans where the amount of solar radiation reaching earth is maximum. The sum shines throughout the day on the surface of the ocean, simultaneously evaporating huge amounts of water vapor into the lower atmosphere. In the oceans across the world, there are large numbers of species that generate dimethyl sulfide as part of their metabolism. The waste product of the algae also vaporizes into the lower atmosphere. The energetic spectrum of sunlight converts dimethyl sulfide into sulfuric acid trapping large amounts of water vapor on to the acidified particle’s surface. When moved to the higher regions of the atmosphere as a result of earth’s rotation, these micelles of dust, vapor and other particles condense into thick mats of clouds. Thus clouds are formed. When the micelles are thicker they fall back to the earth’s surface in the form of liquid droplets called rain. This thereby increases the level of water in the water bodies.
There are other factors which make the presence of one or more elements indispensable. Some of them include how ocean currents, planetary winds etc influence temperature, how certain aspects of the earth’s atmosphere are responsible for life under the sea. Therefore the relationship between the constituents of the earth is interlinked and vital.
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