Write a Short Note on Global Carbon Cycle with the Help of Diagram

Write a Short Note on Global Carbon Cycle with the Help of Diagram. The carbon cycle is the process where the exchange of carbon compounds takes place among the biosphere, geosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the earth. The carbon cycle is vital to life on Earth. Maintaining this carbon balance allows the planet to remain hospitable for life. Scientists believe that humans have upset this balance by burning fossil fuels, which has added more carbon to the atmosphere than usual and led to climate change and global warming.

The global carbon cycle refers to the exchanges of carbon within and between four major reservoirs: the atmosphere, the oceans, land, and fossil fuels. Second, the cycling of carbon approximates the flows of energy around the Earth, the metabolism of natural, human, and industrial systems. The carbon cycle describes the process in which carbon atoms continually travel from the atmosphere to the Earth and then back into the atmosphere. Carbon is released back into the atmosphere when organisms die, volcanoes erupt, fires blaze, fossil fuels are burned, and through a variety of other mechanisms.

The Carbon Cycle

  • Carbon moves from the atmosphere to plants.
  • Carbon moves from plants to animals.
  • Carbon moves from plants and animals to soils.
  • Carbon moves from living things to the atmosphere.
  • Carbon moves from fossil fuels to the atmosphere when fuels are burned.
  • Carbon moves from the atmosphere to the oceans.

Let us discuss the steps of the Global Carbon Cycle which help in understanding its mechanism.

Major steps involved in the process of the carbon cycle:-

  • Carbon present in the atmosphere is absorbed by plants for photosynthesis.
  • These plants are then consumed by animals, and carbon gets bioaccumulated into their bodies.
  • These animals and plants eventually die, and upon decomposing, carbon is released back into the atmosphere.
  • Some of the carbon that is not released back into the atmosphere eventually becomes fossil fuels.
  • These fossil fuels are then used for man-made activities, which pumps more carbon back into the atmosphere

What is the carbon cycle? Explain.

The carbon cycle is a biogeochemical cycle where various carbon compounds are interchanged among the various layers of the earth, namely, the biosphere, geosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.

What are the 4 steps of the carbon cycle?

  • Carbon enters the atmosphere as CO2
  • CO2 is absorbed by autotrophs such as green plants
  • Animals consume plants, thereby, incorporating carbon into their system
  • Animals and plants die, their bodies decompose and carbon is reabsorbed back into the atmosphere.

Carbon Cycle on Land

Carbon in the atmosphere is present in the form of carbon dioxide. Carbon enters the atmosphere through natural processes such as respiration and industrial applications such as burning fossil fuels. The process of photosynthesis involves the absorption of CO2 by plants to produce carbohydrates. The equation is as follows:

CO2 + H2O + energy → (CH2O)n +O2

Carbon compounds are passed along the food chain from the producers to consumers. The majority of the carbon exists in the body in the form of carbon dioxide through respiration. The role of decomposers is to eat the dead organism and return the carbon from their body back into the atmosphere. The equation for this process is:

(CH2O)n +O2 → CO2 + H2O

Oceanic Carbon Cycle

This is essentially a carbon cycle but in the sea. Ecologically, oceans take in more carbon than it gives out. Hence, it is called a “carbon sink.” Marine animals convert carbon to calcium carbonate and this forms the raw building materials require to create hard shells, similar to the ones found in clams and oysters.

When organisms with calcium carbonate shells die, their body decomposes, leaving behind their hard shells. These accumulate on the seafloor and are eventually broken down by the waves and compacted under enormous pressure, forming limestone.

When these limestone rocks are exposed to air, they get weathered and the carbon is released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Importance of Carbon Cycle

Even though carbon dioxide is found in small traces in the atmosphere, it plays a vital role in balancing the energy and traps the long-wave radiations from the sun. Therefore, it acts like a blanket over the planet. If the carbon cycle is disturbed it will result in serious consequences such as climatic changes and global warming.

Carbon is an integral component of every life form on earth. From proteins and lipids to even our DNA. Furthermore, all known life on earth is based on carbon. Hence, the carbon cycle, along with the nitrogen cycle and oxygen cycle, plays a vital role in the existence of life on earth.

Key Points on Carbon Cycle

  • The carbon cycle explains the movement of carbon between the earth’s biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
  • Carbon is an important element of life.
  • Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is taken up by green plants and other photosynthetic organisms and is converted into organic molecules that travel through the food chain. Carbon atoms are then released as carbon dioxide when organisms respire.
  • The formation of fossil fuels and sedimentary rocks contributes to the carbon cycle for very long periods.
  • The carbon cycle is associated with the availability of other compounds as well.

What are the types of the carbon cycle?

The carbon cycle can be classified into two types based on the duration of the process into two types:

Short term – This type occurs within a relatively short period of time. It is named as such because it takes just days, months, or years for carbon to flow across the various carbon reservoirs.

Long-term – This type takes thousands of years to occur. The excess carbon from the short-term cycle is stored for a long time before it is released.

Why is the carbon cycle important?

The carbon cycle is an important aspect of the survival of all life on earth. From an environmental perspective, carbon provides insulation by trapping the sun’s heat. From a biological perspective, carbon is the building block of life and forms stable bonds with other elements necessary for life.

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