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The Carbon Cycle

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Aida Chen

on 2 August 2015

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Transcript of The Carbon Cycle

The Carbon Cycle
New Zealand
Now vz 200 years ago
Dissolving in water
The ocean plays a very important role in the carbon cycle, carbon moves freely in and out of the ocean daily, however it acts as one of the largest stores of carbon as well. Carbon dioxide is dissolved in the surface of the water through diffusion, some of it stays as a gas but most of it gets turned into other things, e.g phytoplankton in the surface waters uses photosynthesis, as previously explained, to turn carbon dioxide into organic matter, and many other organisms use the carbon and turn it into calcium carbonate to use in building shells and skeletons. Since the ocean takes in less carbon than it releases back into the atmosphere
it is labelled as a "sink".
Removal in the carbon cycle
As carbon cycles around the atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere, many places store carbon for varying lengths of time. The different processes of extracting the carbon from one store and taking it back into the atmosphere in different forms. This process is called the removal of carbon in the carbon cycle. The two methods I explained before are the two main processes of removing carbon from the atmosphere, via photosynthesis from plants and dissolving it in the surfaces of the ocean, where they are stored for short periods of time in forests and phytoplankton and longer periods of time in the oceand and rocks etc.
Respiration & Excretion
Respiration is the opposite to photosynthesis, however also occurring in plants. The equation is opposite to photosynthesis, using the glucose and oxygen produced to make energy, with carbon dioxide and water as by products. The carbon dioxide is then released back into the atmosphere through the stomata of the plant, and from there it can be extracted through other means into a store or sink.
Another way for carbon dioxide to be released from a plant is if it is ingested by a plant eating animal. As it is ingested, it goes through the digestive system and as it is excreted the carbon dioxide is released from the
animal and back into the atmosphere
NZ 200 years ago
No industrial revolution, forest cover, watch out what is SPECIFICALLY NZ imbalance of the loss forest, methane, intensive farming, volcanic eruption population, more cars etc
NZ now
Carbon is the building block of earth and life. Humans and everything we use, eat, our entire civilisation is built on carbon. The carbon cycle is the movement of carbon in it's different forms between the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and geosphere. Carbon is stored for long periods of time, in oceans, rocks, fossil fuels, sediments etc, and for short periods of time in substances such as forests and phytoplankton. It can be removed from the atmosphere from photosynthesis, and dissolving it into bodies of water such as the ocean. The other step in the cycle is its addition back into the atmosphere, via respiration, excretion, decay, combustion or burning, and volcanic activity. After the Industrial Revolution, and even before, the carbon cycle changed dramatically all over the world and also in New Zealand, changing lifestyles and evolving the human

Short term storage
Long term storage cont.
Storage in the carbon cycle
Decay & Decomposition
Volcanic activity
Addition in the carbon cycle
6C02 +H20 +ENERGY --> C6H1206+6O2
Photosynthesis is a process all plant life use to obtain glucose for respiration and oxygen which is then expelled. In the carbon cycle, photosynthesis assists in the removal of carbon from the atmosphere. The carbon atoms in the atmosphere are mostly in the form of a gas, carbon dioxide, CO2. As seen in the equation above, plants absorb CO2 into their cells and combine it with water and energy from the sunlight and create glucose and oxygen. The glucose, or simple sugars, are then converted into all other living molecules in a plant, eg starch, fat, proteins and enzymes. The oxygen is simply released back into the atmosphere as a waste product and is breathed in by humans.
This is a diagram of the carbon cycle moving through the environment involving addition, storage and removal. The grey labels outlines where carbon is stored, long term and short term, and the blue labels are processes of which carbon is transferred from one store to another
As carbon flows between sinks and stores, and through the atmosphere, it is stored for short periods of times in places like forests, plants, phytoplankton, etc. They are briefly stored in plants via photosynthesis. When plants photosynthesize, they absorb carbon in it's form of carbon dioxide. The carbon is stored in the plant in the form of starch, or glucose etc. until it goes through respiration and the carbon dioxide is once again released back into the atmosphere. Respiration equation :
glucose + oxygen --> carbon dioxide + water + energy
The carbon can also be removed from the plant when a herbivore or omnivore ingests the plant.Forests also hold carbon short term as carbon dioxide, inside the trees and it is stored in the timber as structural materials, cellulose and lignin. This can be released back into the atmosphere when burnt as fuels, when the tree decomposes, or it will be long term storage when the tree or plant matter turns to coal.
Long term storage
Short term storage cont.
Comparison and overall paragraph
Forests also hold carbon short term as carbon dioxide, inside the trees and it is stored in the timber as structural materials, cellulose and lignin. This can be released back into the atmosphere when burnt as fuels, when the tree decomposes, or it will be long term storage when the tree or plant matter turns to coal.
There are many forms in which carbon can be stored
long term. The carbon that diffuses into the oceans for a short period of time is considered short term storage, however when organisms die and they sink to the deeper parts of the ocean, decay relases the carbon dioxide back into the ocean. The ocean can store carbon like this for thousands of years. Some material may continue to sink, even to the bottom where oit will form layers of carbon rich sediments, which are also made up of fragments of other rocks etc that are deposited by wind and water. Over time, the immense pressure from the deep ocean forces the sediments into sedimentary rock and the carbon is locked up and stored long term, even for millions of years. Fossil fuels are a long term sink (takes in more carbon than it releases) for carbon in the atmosphere
and are formed by organic matter that don't
contain carbon being buried under-
ground for long periods are time, coals and natural gases are also formed in a similar manner. Carbon is essentially locked up and cannot return to the natural carbon cycle. Coal is ancient plant matter metaphorphosed andcompressed millions of years ago. The plant matter would have obtained the carbon dioxide via photosynthesis and stored there as the plant matter was turned into coal. Humans released much of this long term sotred carbon by burning it as fuels and returning it to the atmosphere, one of the largest causes of global warming. Metamorphic rocks and sedimentary rocks can also be heated until it forms magma in a volcano and the carbon stored there until the volcano erupts. Metaphorphic rocks form when extreme heat or pressure causes rocks to change form, and igneous
rocks are formed when lava or magma
cools and solidifies.
The carbon cycle contains various sinks and stores that can hold carbon or carbon dioxide for millions and millions of years. Addition brings carbon into the atmosphere with various methods, from combustion to decay to volcanic activity. Removal involves photosynthesis and the ocean extracting carbon from the atmosphere and transferring it to both short term and long term stores and sinks, forests and plants belonging to shorrt term storage and the ocean, different rocks, fossil fuels, coal and natural gases storing carbon for thousands and even millions of years, some taking millions of years to form. Because te carbon is locked up for such long periods of time, this keeps the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and lowers global warming. However, since humans have started burning natural gases, fuels etc and releasing it back into atmosphere carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been climnbing steadily and thrown it out of balance,
C6H12O6 + 6O2 --> 6CO2 + 6H20 + ENERGY
When plant or animal matter die and fall to the
ground, fungi and bacteria are able to begin to decompose it. When there is oxygen present, the decomposition process will create carbon dioxide, aerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration creates methane, commonly as flatulence from various animals.
Soil also contains a lot of carbon dioxide, also in a high concentration. When plant matter dies or sheds leaves, it falls into the soil and will begin to decompose. With the oxygen present it will anaerobically respire and the carbon dioxide will enter the soil. Through diffusion,
as the soil will have high concentrations of
carbon dioxide, the carbon dioxide reenters
the atmosphere which has a lower
When plant material is burned, the oxygen,
heat and fuel allows for complete combustion, meaning the carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere in large quantities. There is also water released in the form of steam, and some energy. However, when there is an insufficient supply of oxygen, incomplete combustion occurs which means that carbon monoxide is released instead of carbon dioxide, which is highly dangerous to humans when breathed in for a short period of time. Burning fossil fuels and coal etc however, releases substantial amounts of carbon into the atmosphere which has taken thousands of years to create. This carbon
has been locked in the geosphere for millions of years
and by releasing it in such a large quantity this
has caused climate change and global warming
to rise rapidly and slightly throw the
carbon cycle out of balance
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