Paper No. :15Environmental Analysis Module :01Introduction to Environment
Principal Investigator: Dr.NutanKaushik, Senior Fellow
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Mohammad Amir, Professor of Pharm. Chemistry,
JamiaHamdard University, New Delhi
Paper Coordinator: Dr. Nimisha Jadon, Assistant Professor, School of Studies in Environmental Chemistry,Jiwaji University, Gwalior Content Writer: Dr. Nimisha Jadon, Assistant Professor, School of Studies
in Environmental Chemistry,Jiwaji University, Gwalior Content Reviwer: Prof. Rajeev Jain, Professor of Chemistry, Jiwaji
Description of Module
Subject Name Analytical Chemistry / Instrumentation Paper Name Environmental Analysis
Module Name/Title Introduction to Environment
Module Id 01
Pre-requisites Objectives Keywords
Environment as a word means the surroundings that includes plants, microbes, animals, human and all biotic forms and abiotic factors like soil, water, air, light etc.
the french word ‘environ’ has given an extension to the word environment.
Environment consists of an interconnected system created by biological, chemical, physical, cultural and social constitutes, that are connected collectively and individually altogether.
It includes abiotic components viz air, land and water, and the interrelationships that remain between and among human beings (biotic) and land water, air and other biotic components such as plants, micro organisms and animals.
The hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere and biosphere are the four interlinking systems that constitutes natural environment. All four components exists continuous and constant changes and these changes are negatively affected by anthropogenic activities and vice-versa.
Components of Environment
1. Abiotic or non -living constituents: These include
Humidity and hydrosphere
Gases in the atmospheric
2. Biotic or living constituents: These include all the living creatures including human, animals, microorganisms, parasites and decomposers.
3. Energy Components: These include solar energy geochemical energy thermoelectric energy nuclear energy etc.
Types of Environment:
1. Natural Environment: The components of natural environment are air, water, soil, solar radiation, land, forest wildlife etc.
2. Man made environment : These include housing agriculture implements industries
Fig: Relationship among the environmental components
Segments of environment 1. Hydrosphere
Characteristics of water:
Water is regarded as universal solvent.
Water possesses highest heat of fusion and heat of evaporation, collectively known as latent heat
Water has high surface tension
Water is poor thermal conductor as compared to other metals
The viscosity of water allows organisms to swim using simple movement
Water protects aquatic animals and plants from mechanical disturbances
Being transparent to light , water allows photosynthetic organ isms to live below the surface water
Water exerts pressure.
The total water present on earth, in solid, liquid and gaseous phases, constitutes the hydrosphere. There are different components of hydrosphere:
a) Ocean contained almost 97% water b) Snow& Ice contained almost 2% water c) Fresh water contained almost 1% water
d) Water vapour: In vapour form water is present only to extent of 0.001%
In hydrosphere water continuously circulates in a closed cycle, moving from one reservoir to another and becomes the largest reservoir.
Impact on hydrosphere of the human activities
The technological developments of today’s society having severe negative impacts on the hydrological cycle. The natural composition of hydrosphere is being concerned by
wastes and by the agriculture waste discharge including mineral fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides into subsurface and surface water bodies. Apart from this accidental drainage of petroleum products, mismanaged sewage discharge and thermal contamination also severely destroy the natural superiority of the water system.
Major impacts of human activities on hydrosphere arises three major problems including acid rain, eutrophication and increase in greenhouse gases. Each of these problems are enhanced by human activities in the hydrological cycle and these effects are far-reaching and totally destroy the whole aquatic systems..
Classically water bodies have been known as oligotrophic or eutrophic. Those water bodies which have low concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus or poorly fed by these nutrients known as Oligotrophic waters. Thus there water bodies contain low production of organic matter by photosynthesis.
Opposite from the oligotrophic, those water bodies which are highly nourished with nutrients and are having high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus known as eutrophic waters. Due to high amount of nitrogen and phosphorus phytoplanktons grown rapidly which owing to high biological productivity.
High concentration of phytoplanktons makes such marine system more often than not misty, and then these water bodies such as lakes and coastal marine systems may be depleted by oxygen- at depth. So the process in which increasing amount of organic matter or nutrients into any aquatic systems resulting high biological productivity known as eutrophication. When the eutrophication process continuous in lakes, increased the biological productivity that leads to reduced volume of lake because of the accumulation of organic matrix at the bottom of lakes.
Natural eutrophication is termed as the aquatic systems enriched among natural substance; it is contrast from cultural eutrophication, which is caused by human intervention. The latter is characteristic of aquatic systems that have been artificially enriched by excess nutrients and organic matter from sewage, agriculture, and industry.
Lakes which are suffering with natural eutrophiccation process generate 75–250 g of carbon per square metre per year, whereas lakes that are experiencing cultural
eutrophication due to anthropogenic sources can produce 75–750 grams of carbon per square metre per year. Generally, aquatic systems where cultural eutrophication trigger out may possess extremely low concentration of oxygen at bottom water.
In particularly stratified systems, for occurrence, in lakes throughout summer, the amount of molecular oxygen may depleted rapidly and reached a smaller amount than one milligram per litre that is a threshold limit for various biological and chemical processes.
Aquatic systems can be interchange from oligotrophic to eutrophic, and the rate of eutrophication process in a natural eutrophic system can be improved by the addition of organic matter and nutrients by cultural euthophication activities.
Cultural eutrophication not only affected freshwater marine systems undergoes, but also coastal marine systems is exaggerated by this procedure. On a worldwide scale, the input concentrations of organic matter by rivers to the oceans is twice the input of pre human level, and the concentration of carbon and phosphorus together with that of nitrogen, has more than doubled input.
This large concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon is important towards the cultural eutrophication in costal marine systems.
It is a most common worldwide problem which is arises primarily by the fossil fuel burning and automobile exhaust.These human activities emit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to the atmosphere and causes the acidification of rainwater and freshwater aquatic systems.
The mantle of rocks that constituting the earth’s crust known as Lithosphere. The earth that revolves in its axis and rotates around the sun at a certain constant distance, is a rocky spherical solid planet of the solar system.
Soil, mountain, earth rocks etc are the main constituents of the lithosphere. Core, mantle and crusts (outer and inner) are the main three layers of the lithosphere.
The atmosphere is defined as a thick envelope, containing a mixture of gases and small amount of finely divided liquid and solid aerosols that surrounds the earth and plays a dominant role in sustaining life.
Composition of the atmosphere
a) Gases: The atmosphere is made up of relatively stable mixture of gases with their volume which are discussed in table 1.
b) Water vapours c) Aerosols
Table 1: Composition of clean, dry air, near sea-level
Contents Per cent by
Major components Nitrogen
Oxygen Water vapour
Minor components Argon
Carbon dioxide Trace components Neon
Helium Methane Krypton Nitrous oxide Hydrogen Xenon
Sulphur dioxide Nitrogen dioxide Ammonia
Carbon monoxide Ozone
78.09 20.94 0.1-5
0.00182 0.000524 0.00018 0.00011 0.000025 0.00005 0.0000087 0.0000002 0.0000001 0.000001 0.000012 0.000002 Traces
7,80,900 2,09,400 1,000-50,000
18.2 5.24 1.8 1.1 0.25 0.5 0.087 0.002 0.001 0.01 0.12 0.02 Traces
Structure of atmosphere
Atmosphere which extends upto about 500 Km above the earth surface has been divided into following four zones.
a. Troposphere b. Stratosphere c. Mesosphere d. Thermosphere
Some important characteristics of the four major atmospheric region summarized in table 2:
Table 2: Profile of the major atmospheric region.
Name of the region Height above the Earth’s surface, km.
Temperature range oC
Major chemical species present
15 to -56
-56 to -2
-2 to -92
-92 to 1200
O2, N2, CO2, H2O
O+2, O+, NO+
Troposphere is the closest layer of the atmosphere to the Earth's surface, 75% of the atmosphere's mass contains in this layer ranging from 10-15 km above the Earth's surface. The troposphere is narrow at the polesand wider at the equator. Pressure and temperature decreases fairly steadily with increasing altitude from the ground temperature to a temperature of about -56°C.
The tropopause is the top most layer of the troposphere, where the temperature retain stable and reaches to minimum low temperature. The tropopause is also known as
"thermal layer" or "cold trap" because in this layer water vapours freeze at this point and beyond this point rising water vapor cannot go because these vapours convert into ice and trapped in it. Due to this cold trap, Earth would retain its all water which sustain life on it.
The uncertain level of heating in the troposphere region by the Sun generates convection currents and winds. Warm air from Earth's surface rises and cold air above it rushes in to replace it. When warm air reaches the tropopause, it cannot go higher as the air above it (in the stratosphere) is warmer and lighter. Preventing much air convection beyond the tropopause. The tropopause acts like an invisible barrier and is the reason for the most of the cloud formation and various seasons and weather
phenomena exists within the troposphere region.
The Greenhouse Effect: Sun heat warms the Earth's surface but most of its radiation reradiated by the earth’s surface and emit back into space. Major portion of these radiations as heat trap by the carbon dioxide and water vapour in the troposphere, keep the Earth warm by preventing it from escaping. The phenomenon of trapping of heat is known as greenhouse effect.
Moreover, the concentration of carbon dioxide increases due to technological development in the troposphere and will trap maximum heat. The Earth's surface temperature would raises by the continuous increasing amount of the carbon dioxide and the scientists are afraid that it would bringing significant changes in the worldwide season patterns that causes shifting in climatic zones which could raise the level of the earth's temperature due to the melting of the polar ice caps.
Above the troposphere the next layer known as stratosphere which lies directly next to
the troposphere and about 35 Km deep. This layer ranging approximately 15 to 50 km above the troposphere. The stratosphere is colder at the bottom but warmer at the top.
At the bottom of the stratosphere the temperature is lower and nearly constant with height but at the top portion of the stratosphere temperature rises along with altitude because ozone layer absorbs the sunlight particularly UV radiations.The temperature in stratosphere increase with altitude that is the opposite situation from the troposphere.
The Ozone Layer: In the stratosphere there is a fine layer of ozone molecules (O3) that forms a shielding layer which protect life from the harmful ultraviolet radiation emits from Sun on Earth. But because of atmospheric pollution from human activities ozone layer continuously depleted, and is getting minimum or thinner over Antarctica, North American, Europe and Asia and consecutively holes in ozone layer have been appeared.
Meso layer or mesosphere:
Mesosphere layer spreading from 50 to 80 km above the Earth's surface directly above the stratosphere. The mesosphere is known as cold layer where with increasing altitude the temperature generally decreases. Here the atmosphere in the mesosphere is very rarefied and thick enough to generate friction for meteors speed that moving into the atmosphere, where they leaving fiery trails in the night sky through burning up species.
Thermo layer or thermosphere:
Thermosphere layer exists 80 km above the Earth and ranging beyond the outer space.
The thermosphere retain very high temperature that may be rises up to thousands of degree and maintain a hot atmosphere which ionizes all gases and molecules that are
from the Sun. Thermosphere also known as heterosphere. Heterosphere is a zone where distribution of the gases is not uniform or can say that gaseous molecules are not properly mixed well and layered on the basis of their molecular masses. Opposite to the thermosphere, the gases are uniformly distributed in the troposphere, stratosphere and mesosphere which in combination are known as homosphere.
Biosphere represents an interface between the non-living and living constituents.
Biosphere defined as the thin layer of soil rock water air that surrounds the earth.
The elemental composition of biosphere is broadly classified in two categories:
Macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are required in substantial quantities by living organism includes hydrogen carbon oxygen, nitrogen, calcium potassium silicon, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorous and sodium.
Micronutrients are the elements which are required living organism in very small quantities which includes Aluminum, Chlorine, Iron, and Manganese. Energy for the biosphere is provided through the action of photosynthesis.
A community of organisms interacting with each other and with their nonliving surroundings is called an ecosystem.
Each ecosystem has two parts: Living and nonliving: biotic and abiotic. The interrelationship among the biotic and abiotic components is known as ecology.
Biosphere Dynamics A. Ecosystems
Types of ecosystems:
1. Natural: These ecosystems are operates on their own under natural environmental conditions without any hinderence by human being. This is further classified into two:
a. Terrestrial ecosystem: They are often defined by the vegetation types that dominate the community for e.g. tropical rainforest, grasslands, dessert.
b. Aquatic ecosystem: They fall into two categories: Freshwater and marine water
2. Artificial: They are maintained artificially by man. A pond constructed as a part of waste water treatment plant is an example of artificial ecosystem.
1. Habitat – It is a place where living organism living in their environment.
2. Niche – Interactions between the organisms with their habitat known as niche.
3. Ecosystem - Interactions between organisms, habitat and niche is known as ecosystem.
Ecosystem is a combination of the biological community (biotic) interacts with their chemical and physical components that are known as abiotic or non-living environment. Grassland, an estuary, a pond and a forest is the best examples of ecosystems. Boundaries of ecosystems are not fixed, but sometimes it seems naturally, as the shoreline of a pond. However to achieve the goals of the particular study margins of an ecology are preferred for suitable causes. The study of the processes that link the biotic or living, components to the abiotic or non-living components is the main criteria of the study of ecosystems. The two main processes Energy transformations and biogeochemical cycling comprise the field of ecosystem ecology. The interactions of organisms with the environment and with one another are defined as ecology.
Ecology can also be studied at the level of the ecosystem, the community, the population and last at the individual level.
Ecological Study of individuals are mainly focused on their behavior, physiological development and reproduction and study of populations mostly concerned about the needs of resources of individual species, their habitat, population growth, group behaviors, their
of communities determined interaction of populations of numerous species through one another similar to prey and their predators or competitor of same resources or common needs.
In environment ecosystem we locate the entire of this collectively and, in distant.
These functional aspects include such things as the amount of energy that is produced by photosynthesis, how energy or materials flow along the many steps in a food chain, or what controls the rate of decomposition of materials or the rate at which nutrients are recycled in the system.
Components of an Ecosystem
Sunlight Primary producers
Water or moisture Omnivores
Soil or water chemistry (e.g., P, NH4+) Detritivores
All of these vary over space/time
Processes of Ecosystems
Ecosystems have energy flows and ecosystems cycle materials. These two processes are linked, but they are not quite the same.
Figure1. Energy flows and material cycle
Energy enters the biological system as light energy, or photons, is transformed into chemical energy in organic molecules by cellular processes including photosynthesis and respiration, and ultimately is converted to heat energy. This energy is dissipated, meaning it is lost to the system as heat; once it is lost it cannot be recycled. Without the continued input of solar energy, biological systems would quickly shut down. Thus the Earth is an open system with respect to energy.
1. Sun, plants, animals
2. First Law of Thermodynamics
There are different route of exposure of Elements like carbon, nitrogen, or phosphorus through which they enter into human body.
Animals may also get their energy from the physical environment or by utilizing other microorganism and these microorganisms are biochemically converted into other for by different chemical reaction within the animal’s body and finally they are release into the environment in inorganic form it may be carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, rather than those elements being bound up in organic matter moreover bacteria helps this process are called as decomposition or mineralization.
Due the recycling of elements and material in environment which are never destroyed during the decomposition of materials the Earth is called as closed system (But in the case of a meteorite, it is found to be exception). These elements are recycled continuously among the abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems and the elements which provide energy to biological activity are called nutrients.
Sun energy is the primary input in the process of energy transformations in ecosystem which is obtained by the process of photosynthesis.
In the second step Carbon dioxide reacts with hydrogen generated by the splitting of water to form carbohydrates (CHO).
This synthesize carbohydrate is stored as energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
The prophet Isaah has told that "all flesh is grass", earning him the title of first ecologist, because virtually all energy available to organisms originates in plants.
Plants are called as the primary producers as they are the first step for the synthesis of energy.
Herbivores are those who get their food by eating the primary producers while carnivores obtain their energy from herbivores and the dead and decaying body of all of us is consumed by detritivores.
In an uncomplicated food chain, energy obtained the sun, trapped by plant photosynthesis, drain from trophic stage to trophic stage by means of the food chain, is indicated in outline certain under. A trophic stage is collected of organisms that build a living in the similar technique that is they are all primary producers (plants), primary consumers (herbivores) or secondary consumers (carnivores).
Figure .Portrays a simple food chain C. Water cycle
D. Nutrients and minerals recycled 1. Most plants require 17 elements
Composition of life (95%) is Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and
E. Food chain (phytoplankton → copepod → fish → squid → seal → Orca
F. The biosphere pyramid (equilibrium balance / sustainable ecosystem)
The pyramidal explanation of each tropic levels of organism on the basis of their ecological position i.e. from producer to consumer is known as an ecological pyramid.
The primary producers are found at the top of pyramid forming the base then carnivores are situated at the mid of the pyramid with others consumer.
The pyramid is formed by a number of horizontal bars predicting selective trophic levels. The length of single bar indicates the total number of single or biomass or energy at each trophic level in an ecosystem.
Types of pyramids 1. Numbers Pyramid 2. Biomass Pyramid
3. Energy or productivity Pyramid.
1. Numbers Pyramid
Pyramid of numbers indicates the total number of single species of various populations at each trophic level.
Pyramid of numbers may be upright or inverted.
It is not easy to calculate all the members, in a pyramid of numbers and so the pyramid of number never explains the trophic structure for an ecosystem.
In such type of pyramid, the number of individuals is become less as we goes from lower level to higher.
Examples of such pyramids are grassland ecosystem and pond ecosystem.
Primary consumer – herbivore (example – grasshopper)
Primary carnivore (example – rat)
Secondary carnivore (example – snakes)
Top carnivore. (Ex: Hawk).
E.g. Tree ecosystem.
2. Biomass Pyramid
Pyramid of biomass is usually explained by gathering all organisms existing at every trophic level separately and calculating their dry weight.
This is better option than the size difference problem as biomass of all other organisms is weighed in g/m2.
The biomass of organism is reported in terms of fresh or dry weight.
Calculation of biomass in terms of dry weight is more corrected.
Every trophic level consist a definite collection of existing material at a specific point called as the standing crop.
The standing crop is calculated as the accumulation of living organisms (biomass) or the number in a unit area.
To evaluate the efficient importance of the trophic levels in an ecological unit, an energy pyramid is most appropriate.
3. Energy or productivity Pyramid
Energy pyramids indicate the quantity of energy at every trophic level and loss of energy at each relocate to another trophic level.
Hence the pyramid is always upward, with a huge energy support at the base.
Biomes are very huge biological area on the earth’s shell, among fauna and flora (animals and plants) adapting to their environment. Biomes are seldom explained by abiotic factors such as temperature, relief, geology, soils and vegetation.
A biome is NOT an ecosystem, even though it can be explained as an enormous ecosystem. Plants or animals in every biome have unique adaptations which create it probable for them to survive in that area.
Five major categories of biomes on earth and sub-biomes:
The Desert Biomes: They are the Hot and Dry Deserts, Semi Arid Deserts, Coastal Deserts and Cold Deserts.
The Aquatic Biomes: Aquatic biomes are grouped into two, Freshwater Biomes (lakes and ponds, rivers and streams, wetlands) and Marine Biomes (oceans, coral reefs and estuaries).
The Forest Biomes: There are three main biomes that make up Forest Biomes. These are the Tropical Rainforest, Temperate and Boreal Forests (also called the Taiga)
The Grassland Biomes: There are two main types of grassland biomes: the Savanna Grasslands and the Temperate Grasslands.
The Tundra Biomes: There are two major tundra biomes—The Arctic Tundra and the Alpine Tundra.
A. Ecosystems examples in a geographic area showing to the alike physical Conditions with comparable ecosystem structure.
B. Terrestrial biomes
Temperate (boreal, coniferous, deciduous) forests
Tropical rain forests
C. Aquatic biomes
1. Freshwater (e.g., lakes, rivers, swamps) 2. Marine (e.g., oceans)
a. Coral reefs
b. Continental shelves 3. Estuaries