Abiotic Factors

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Abiotic components are the nonliving components of the biosphere. Chemical and geological factors, such as rocks and minerals, and physical factors, such as temperature and weather, are referred to as abiotic components.
The continental ice sheet retreated from this area about 9 thousand years ago. It left an area of ground up rock material on the land surface with a tremendous amount of melt water. This caused the formation of a huge lake in which many layers of sediment, composed mostly of silt and clay, were deposited. This formed what is known as a lacustrine plain. It is through these layers that the relatively young Smoky River carves its path. Photo credit: Canadian Soil Information Service

 

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Since the early days, the parent rock material has been modified by the environmental factors existing in the area. These factors include climate, native vegetation, microorganisms and water movement. As a result of these various actions, the original rock material has been changed physically, chemically, and biologically into soil. Soil is a major component of the abiotic factors of this valley.

Climatic Data

Average Rainfall (mm/month)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
34.9 25.1 22.7 19.4 36.6 69.0 67.0 55.5 39.6 24.4 28.7 30.3

Average Temperature (C/month)

Jan Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
-16.2 -12.3 -6.8 2.9 10.2 13.8 15.9 14.8 9.9 4.1 -6.1 -13.0

Data courtesy of Environment Canada

Cloud Families

Cirrus clouds are high clouds are composed of ice crystals and are normally based above 20,000 feet. They appear as white curly streaks across the sky. Altocumulus is a series of patches of rather flattened rounded masses of clouds composed of water droplets or ice crystals. These are middle clouds and are based between 6,500 and 20,000 feet.
Stratus is a uniform layer of very low cloud that may appear in extensive sheets or patches. It resembles fog but does not rest on the ground. Drizzle or freezing drizzle may fall from it. Cumulus are fluffy white clouds that form at the top of convection currents, and are a common sight during hot summer afternoons.
Nimbostratus is the main precipitation cloud. Continuous rain, snow or freezing rain are in store from this type of cloud. It is an extensive, uniformly dark layer. Towering cumulus is an example of 'heap' clouds that can be isolated or embedded within layer clouds. These are cumulus clouds that have grown to considerable height but still have clear-cut rounded tops.
Cumulonimbus is a towering cumulus that has grown to a great height, and the top spreads out into a widespread anvil or thunderhead. Heavy precipitation is usually the result. And of course, clouds provide the back drop for some of the best sunsets!

Eutrophication

When spring runoff begins so does the process of eutrophication.   Eutrophication is the filling in of a lake or slough by organic matter and silt. Water runs off of the hills and carries with it dirt and other matter to the lake which starts filling in the sides. The rate of this depends on both natural and human factors. Water running off of a ploughed field carries with it a lot of silt that then carried down to the body of water.                                        

These lakes will slowly start to get shallower and shallower. As the lake gets shallower plants begin to grow at the bottom of the lake and the sunlight begins to warm up the water which in turn makes it a suitable environment for plants to grow in. When the plants die they break down and cause a sediment on the bottom of the lake and thus also giving off nutrients for other plants to grow and feed off of. This is a cycle that repeats itself over and over until the lake is finally filled in.

 
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