001 - Hydrosphere

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Climate change and the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere including:

Water stored in ice and oceans, and changing sea levels

Carbon stored in ice, oceans and the biosphere


Climate change will impact the interaction between different places and environments.


  • To have knowledge of what the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere are.

  • To understand how climate change impacts the stores of water in our oceans.

  • To understand how climate change impacts the stores of water in our ice.

  • To have knowledge of where carbon is stored and how that is changing.

Key Terminology

            • Biosphere

            • Hydrosphere

            • Atmosphere

            • Lithosphere

            • Cryosphere

Define the words above using the 'Useful Links' below.

Useful Links

Activity One - The Basics

While this syllabus point is fundamentally about current changes in sea levels and ice it is good to look at what some traditional historical geography. There are two key terms that I would like you to understand and these are below. They are basically to do with local and global sea level changes. Watch the youtube clip and describe what they are and how the changes occur.

                  1. Isostatic

                  2. Eustatic

Activity Two - Water - Describe

Why are we bothering to look at the transfer of what from ice to the oceans? What impact (if any) is it actually going to have on our lives.

      • Watch the youtube clip below and write down the impacts that our ice caps melting can have on our planet.

It has been suggested that if all our ice caps melted then the sea levels would rise by over 80m. That would mean that all our current coastal areas would be flooded. In fact many areas that are in land would suddenly have a sea view. But how much ice is melting and what are the current issues?

      1. Using Image One describe the changes in global temperature.

      2. Using Image Two describe the changes in the Arctic sea ice minimum.

      3. Using Image Three describe the changes in Antarctic mass.

      4. Using Image Four describe the changes in global sea levels.

Activity Three - Is it true?

You have described the changes to the ice and the sea levels by using the graphs above but we all know that we should use more than one source of evidence to prove if something is happening. It is now your turn to search either the BBC, Google News or Flipboard to see if you can find any evidence of places that are currently being impacted by sea level change. When you find something write a short paragraph outlining where it is happening and what the impact is. I would suggest that find three key articles.

Activity Four - Carbon

Before we can discuss how climate change impacts the amount of carbon in the atmosphere we need to have a good understanding of the carbon cycle. Where is the carbon stored and how is it transferred between the different 'spheres'.

      1. Draw the carbon cycle and then annotate how the carbon is stored and transferred. Use the youtube clip below and the first link in the 'Useful Resources' to help you.

      2. Watch the second youtube clip and suggest how sea ice change impacts the carbon cycle.

      3. Read the second and third articles in the 'Useful Resources' and extend your notes to show the impact of the carbon cycle on the atmosphere.

Exam Style Question

Explain how climate change is impacting the carbon cycle. [4 marks]