Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Water Pollution Affecting the Water, Carbon, and Nitrogen Cycles by Pookie McGlothern

Water pollution affects water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles. The water cycle is the cycle of water moving up from the earth, into the atmosphere, and water falling from the atmosphere to earth. The sun provides all of the energy for the water cycle by evaporating water off of treetops and the ocean’s surface. Water from inland areas, evaporates in the ground, and finds its way to the ocean, and just becomes run off and travels to the oceans in liquid form. However, when water evaporates, it comes back in the form of precipitation, or rain. But as it falls, it gather pollutants from the air, and becomes acid rain. This further pollutes water and its inhabitants, but water pollution does not solely affect the water cycle. This is mainly because when water evaporates, it leaves behind minerals, and even pollutants, and goes up as “clean” water.

Water pollution however, does affect the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle is the cycle of carbon from the atmosphere to earth, and back again. Carbon enters the atmosphere as animals breathe out CO2, decomposers break down dead matter, volcanoes erupt, fires burn carbon compounds, and through the burning of fossil fuels. In order for the carbon cycle to continue, carbon needs to be released from animals in the form of CO2. Aerobic life, such as fish, contributes to the carbon cycle. However, because of water pollution, there are less and less fish and even other water life, thus decreasing the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. This in turn, affects the carbon cycle. Water pollution affects the nitrogen cycle the least. The nitrogen cycle is the cycle of nitrogen as it enters earth, becomes fixed, and leaves earth, back to the atmosphere. The only way that water pollution can affect the nitrogen cycle is if there is too much trash in one area of a body of water, thus clogging the surface and not allowing algae to absorb the nitrogen. It could also clog the surface and not allow denitrifying bacteria in waterlogged soil to release the nitrogen back into the atmosphere. 


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