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Knows that the Earth is a system containing a fixed amount of each stable chemical atom or element; each element moves among reservoirs in the solid Earth, oceans, atmosphere and living things, as part of geochemical cycles (e.g., carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle).

Snowmelt and Floods

The movie "Fargo" won an "Oscar" for Best Original Screen Play at the Academy Awards in the spring of 1997. Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota were again in the headlines a few weeks later because of record-setting snowmelt floods.

Exercise: Determine the volume of water stored in the snow in the Red River basin. Also, give some possible reasons for why the flooding of the Red River was greater and occurred later in northern North Dakota than in southern North Dakota? [This is answered in the discussion.]

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Ice Sheets and Sea Level Rise

The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contain massive amounts of frozen water (i.e., ice) that, if broken off or melted, for instance from extended global warming or from outward ice flow, would go largely into the oceans. In view of the vast size of the oceans, covering over 70% of the Earth's surface area, many people might at first think that the addition of ice or melted ice from the ice sheets would have little impact on global sea level.

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