Introducing the Fluid Spheres (02:08)
The hydrosphere and the atmosphere are known collectively as the fluid spheres. Earth's water is stored in oceans, ice, and in other surface features. Water is also in the atmosphere as water vapor that forms clouds.
Formation of the Fluid Spheres (02:12)
When the solar system was young, minerals and rock debris collided and fused. An atmosphere formed from hydrogen and helium emitted from surface fissures. Eventually water vapor condensed and fell, creating liquid water. Chemical reactions between crusts, water, and the atmosphere added salt to oceans.
Parts of the Fluid Spheres (03:16)
The hydrosphere consists of liquid and solid surface water, water vapor, and water below ground. Liquid surface water is connected to the geosphere and the atmosphere. The atmosphere is mostly nitrogen and oxygen; clouds form at different heights.
Evidence of Change (03:59)
Geoscientists collect and interpret evidence to understand how fluid spheres have changed. Learn about the Tethys Sea and Lake Bonneville. Sea level changes are linked to climate change and ice volume change. Hear how coal layers and ice cores provide data of Earth's climate history.
Water Cycle (03:14)
Earth is far enough from the sun for water to exist in three matter states. Water transfers between the hydrosphere and atmosphere through the water cycle. Learn about evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
Atmosphere and Oceans (04:24)
The fluid spheres are interconnected with Earth systems. Learn about the troposphere and stratosphere. The atmosphere tries to balance global temperature differences by circulating between the equator and the poles. Hear how winds and geography drive ocean currents, including deep and surface water exchanges.
Climate and Climate Change (04:43)
Earth's climate is thought of as the long term condition of the atmosphere. Learn about tropical, desert, temperate, and polar climate zones. Climate change is a natural process influenced by plate tectonics, crustal movement, volcanic activity, solar output, and changes in Earth's orbit. Hear how human activity is impacting the climate.
Future of the Fluid Spheres (03:23)
Continents and oceans have changed shape, affecting oceanic circulation and climate. Climate has driven ice sheets and glaciers. Hear how greenhouse gas emissions and agricultural byproducts affect the atmosphere and hydrosphere. The sun will determine the fate of fluid spheres.
Extreme Weather (03:51)
Longer or more intense rain storms cause flooding. Summer storms can create thunder clouds and winter snow fall can create blizzard conditions. Winter rain freezing on contact can create ice storms. Learn about tornado and hurricane formation.
Credits: Exploring the Fluid Spheres: Visions of Earth (01:06)
Credits: Exploring the Fluid Spheres: Visions of Earth
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