Carbon, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen Cycles

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Humans have been around for millions of years, and they have impact each of the cycles in many ways. The carbon cycle humans have impact the most. By burning fossil fuels we have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide by at least 35%. (Boorse, 2011). The impact that humans have had on this cycle has change many different elements of the natural environment. An example is the ozone layer is slowly being thinned out, which in turn is heating up the atmosphere of the earth. The thinning of the ozone layer is leading to changes with water level. The natural changes to the carbon cycle have been slowed compared to the rate at which humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. (unknown) The phosphorus cycle is representative of the cycles of all the biologically important mineral nutrients. The origin of these elements is in the rock and soil minerals of the lithosphere, examples include iron, calcium, and potassium. The impact of humans in this cycle is the use of phosphorus containing fertilizers. Phosphorus is used to make fertilizers, animal feeds, detergents and other products. Unfortunately the amount of phosphorus has tripled the amount of phosphorus reaching the oceans. The problem is that there is no way to return the waterborne phosphorus to the soil so the bodies of water end up being over fertilized. With the over fertilizing of the ocean is leading toward a severe water pollution problem which is known as eutrophication. (Boorse, 2011) The Nitrogen cycle has similarities to the carbon cycle and the phosphorus cycle. Both carbon and nitrogen cycles both have gas phases, and Phosphorus and Nitrogen act with limited factors. Nitrogen is a primary nutrient critical for the survival of all the living organisms, although nitrogen needs help to combine with other elements. Although nitrogen is in numerous supply in the atmosphere it is not available for use to plants, but it can be convert from dinitogen gas into ammonia so that plants may use it. The


Cited: Bernhard, A. (2010). Knowledge Project. Retrieved from The Nitrogen Cycle: Processess, Players, and Human Impact: http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-nitrogen-cycle-processes-players-and-human-15644632 Boorse, W. R. (2011). Environmental Science. Pearson. unknown, A. (n.d.). Upsetting the Balance : Carbon Cycle. Retrieved from Marion Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.koshland-science-museum.org/exhibitgcc/carbon03.jsp?PF=1

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