The Carbon Cycle

Topics: Carbon dioxide, Oxygen, Carbon Pages: 3 (754 words) Published: May 21, 2012
http://www.ucar.edu/communications/gcip/m2ccycle/m2pdf.pdf
http://www.ucar.edu/communications/gcip/m2ccycle/m2pdf.pdf
The Carbon Cycle
Importance of Carbon Cycle
Carbon (C) is the fourth most abundant element in the universe and is found in all living substances as well as in many inorganic materials and is also the key element for life. The carbon cycle is the exchange of carbon among three reservoirs or storage places: the land, the oceans, and the atmosphere The atmosphere has the least amount of carbon, followed by the land with it plants and animals, also called the terrestrial biosphere and the ocean being the largest carbon reservoir.

The carbon cycle is important as carbon-containing gases such as carbon dioxide affects and regulates the earth’s climate. It is also vital during the processes photosynthesis and respiration. It helps breakdown matter through decomposition. The Atmosphere and the Greenhouse Effect

Carbon forms less than 1% of the atmosphere, in comprising mainly of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and smaller amounts of Methane (CH4), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These gases traps heat and thus called greenhouse gases Short wavelength radiation from the sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere and is absorbed by the earth’s surface. Some of this absorbed energy is re-radiated back toward space as infrared radiation or heat. The greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb the heat energy and keep it from escaping back to space thus warming the earth. With the exponential increase in greenhouse gases over the years, it has led to higher amounts of heat being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere, leading to a phenomenon called global warming.

Photosynthesis and Respiration
Photosynthesis is the process in which plants make food by combining carbon dioxide and water in the presence of light energy to form carbohydrates, giving out a by-product oxygen, which is released into the atmosphere. CO2 + H2O + Light Energy ->...
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