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Interaction Between All Spheres

Grade 5
Aug 19, 2022

Key Concepts

  • Earth
  • Geosphere
  • Hydrosphere
  • Atmosphere
  • Biosphere


Earth is the place where we live. It is the third planet from the sun. 70% of the Earth is covered by water. The planet Earth is made of sub-systems called spheres. All the spheres of the Earth interact with each other. Earths’ spheres do not work individually.  The action of one sphere affects the other sphere. Humans can have major effects on various spheres of the Earth. For example : The burning of fossil fuels causes a lot of air pollution(atmosphere). Dumping waste into water bodies cause water pollution (hydrosphere). Accumulating the waste in landfills disturbs the geosphere. All these effects finally disturb the ecosystem (biosphere). 

Four spheres of the Earth

The geosphere is also called the lithosphere. The Earth’s land looks in various natural forms. These forms are called landforms. Mountains, oceans, glaciers, hills, valley, canyons, sand dunes, plains, plateaus are some of the examples of landforms.  

Various landforms on Earth – Mountains
Various landforms on Earth – plains
Various landforms on Earth – plateau 

The hydrosphere includes Earth’s water. 97% of the water is salt water present in the oceans. Freshwater is present in aquifers, in lakes, rivers and glaciers. Earth’s water always move through a water cycle. Water evaporates from the surface of the Earth into the atmosphere in the form of gas. In the atmosphere, water condenses and form clouds. As the number of water droplets increase in the clouds, it falls back to the Earth as rain, sleet, hail or snow (precipitation). Then some water flows into lakes, rivers and oceans whereas some water seeps into the soil and ground. 

Water cycle


Atmosphere: The blanket of air around the Earth is called the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a mixture of gases. The major area of the atmosphere is covered by nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%) and other gases (1%). The other gases include water vapour and carbon dioxide that are essential for Earth’s water cycle. Earth’s atmosphere comprises different layers. The layer closest to the Earth is the troposphere. In this region, the air is always on the move and the wind is a gentle breeze. Weather changes by a change in wind direction. 

Composition of air
The layers of Earth’s atmosphere

Biosphere: It includes all living things on the Earth such as plants, animals, fungi, and microscopic plankton. Life on Earth is close to the all spheres of Earth, where it can use oxygen(atmosphere), carbon dioxide (atmosphere), sunlight (atmosphere), water (hydrosphere), minerals (lithosphere) and organic matter (lithosphere) from all spheres of the Earth. Between the land, water habitat and ocean, the biosphere is divided into biomes. A biome is a place on the Earth  that depends upon the rainfall and temperature and help living things to grow well in that habitat. 

Biosphere (Living things on the Earth)

Influence of mountain ranges on winds and clouds in the atmosphere: 

Precipitation is the water coming to the land surface in the form of sleet, rain, hail, or snow. There are two main effects of mountains called orographic effect, that causes:  

i. The formation of clouds and rain on one side of the mountain. 


ii. Rain shadow effect on the other side of the mountain which is a drier area. 

Influence of mountain ranges on the formation of clouds: 

Mountains cause a major barrier in the steady flow of air. When air reaches the mountain, it forces the air upward due to the barrier of the mountain. At high altitudes, the temperature decreases that causes the condensation of water (conversion of gas to liquid). This complete process results in the formation of clouds. Mountains either restrict or slow down the flow of air. This limitation can also cause the lifting of air to higher altitudes and forming clouds before the air reaches the slopes of the mountain. 

Influence of a mountain range on winds and clouds   

Orographic Effect 

As the air rises up the mountain, the clouds that were formed releases the water in the form of rain, sleet or snow because the cloud’s ability to hold water or moisture decreases as temperature decreases. This is called the orographic effect. This effect occurs on the side of the mountain that faces the windward side. Higher is the mountain, the lower is the temperature at the peak of the mountain. This causes the clouds to release precipitation in the form of snow storms in winter and thunderstorms in summer. 

Rain Shadow 

The other side (leeward side) of the mountain has a ‘rain shadow’ which means the other side has considerably less rainfall than the windward side. This happens due to the orographic effect. Due to this the resulting air becomes warmer and drier with less moisture content. 

The orographic effect and the rain shadow results in the two different climates on the both side of the same mountain. The windward side of the mountain receives substantial rainfall and mild climate whereas the rain shadow side of the mountain receives irregular rainfall which results in the dry climatic conditions (desert like). 

Influence of the ocean on ecosystems, landform shape and climate 

Influence of the ocean on ecosystems 

Tornadoes: These are spinning wind. They move across the ground and destroy everything in their path. 

Hurricane: It is a large spinning storm that forms over the warm water of the ocean. The center of the hurricane is called an eye. It is an area of very low pressure. The features of hurricane are strong winds, clouds, and heavy rains. When hurricane moves towards coast, wind and waves force the water to pour onto land. Hurricane causes floods and heavy damage to the ecosystem. 


Floods: They can damage homes, cars, animals, and buildings. Floods carry mud, dirt, drainage water into homes and streets. This causes pollution that results in life-threatening for living things. Some strong floodwaters can wash away bridges and roads, causing them to collapse.  

Floods  2

Tsunami: Some Earthqukes take place below the ocean. This causes big ocean waves called as tsunami. This event causes lots of damage along the coastal line and to the ecosystem. 

The influence of ocean on landform shape 

The force of waves can alter a beach, as waves can pick up lots of sand and that can be accumulated somewhere else. Due to this, the size of a beach may become small at one place, but grow at another place. During a storm, strong winds cause very large waves that can wash away much of a beach in just a few hours. 

Over a period of time the strong force of waves can change rocky cliffs. The constant action of waves breaks large pieces of rock off the bottom of the cliff. The waves grind these rock pieces into smaller rocks. As the bottom part of the cliff grinds, the base of the cliff becomes hollow and when the top part of the cliff is no longer supported, it falls. Then waves break the large pieces of rock into smaller pieces. This way, the rocky cliffs become smaller and smaller. 

Influence of ocean on landform shape 
Influence of ocean on landform shape 2

Influence of ocean on climate: 

Climate is the typical weather of a place for many years. It includes average temperatures, average precipitation. Latitude is the main factor that determines the climate of a place. A neighboring ocean or mountain range can also play a role in climate change. 

The air masses are moved by wind that causes weather. The direction of the current wind decides the type of air mass that moves over an area. For example, a west wind may bring warm moist air from over an ocean whereas an east wind may bring cold dry air from over a mountain range.  

Air that travels across large water bodies often picks up a large amount of water vapor. In the case of an ocean, the air may contain significantly large amounts of moisture when it reaches the far shore. Hence, the climate of coastal regions is moist. 

Influence of the atmosphere on landforms and ecosystems through weather and climate:  

Influence of the atmosphere on landforms Wind:  

Wind can act like a sand blaster. Sand and pieces of rock get carried by the wind that scratches the surface of rocks like sandpaper. Due to this, small pieces of rock break off. Then the wind picks up the new pieces of rocks and sand and carries them away. The erosion of rocks by wind takes many years. 

In deserts, generally gust of wind pile sand into large mounds and beaches called sand dunes. Winds also combine with water and flow of water increases that make mountains steep and valleys become deeper. 

 Influence of wind on landforms 
 Influence of wind on landforms 


• The area of Earth that includes various land forms such as hills, canyons, plateau, mountains, etc.

 • Earth’s spheres interact with each other in many ways.

• Water bodies can affect changes in global weather and temperature.

• Various landforms such as valley, canyons are formed by water.

• Tornado and hurricane affect the ecosystem.


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