After reading this essay you will learn about the carbon cycle.
Balance is essential to the earth. Chemical cycles keep the amount of elements on the earth in a perfect balance.
Carbon is essential for the chemical processes that support life. It plays such an important role in life that sometimes we say that life is “carbon-based”. But there is only a limited amount of carbon on the earth. So carbon is constantly cycling around the earth, turning up in a lot of different forms and places. The reactions that move carbon around make up a giant web called the carbon cycle.
Plants get carbon by taking carbon dioxide from the air. They use the carbon dioxide and the energy from sunlight to make food. Animals get their carbon by eating those plants or by eating animals that have eaten those plants. When organisms breathe, they take oxygen from the air. During respiration, the oxygen reacts with food to provide energy. Respiration produces carbon dioxide which is released to the air.
Volcanic eruptions are a source of carbon. When a volcano erupts, it releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide. But remember- the earth needs it elements to stay in balance. So the effect of volcanoes is balanced by weathering which is a chemical reaction between rainwater and rocks that absorbs carbon dioxide from the air to create rock carbonate minerals.
Left to themselves, these natural processes are in perfect balance. But human activities can disturb the cycle and increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This could cause problems in the future because carbon dioxide is vital for controlling the world’s climate. Carbon Cycle describes the flow of carbon between living organisms and the non-living environment. Carbon cycles through the environment in the form of a gas, carbon dioxide (CO2). The atmosphere of Earth contains .04 percent CO2.
Living organisms provide two important steps in the carbon cycle:
i. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere to use during photosynthesis.
ii. Other organisms release CO2 into the air during respiration.
iii. In addition, there are several important non-organic storage areas of carbon in the environment.
a. A large portion of the Carbon on the Earth is stored in rocks.
b. The Earth’s oceans hold a large amount of CO2 because it easily dissolves in water.
c. Coal, oil, and limestone store carbon that once formed ancient organisms. Burning fossil fuels, like coal and oil, will release CO2 into the atmosphere.