Jan 27, 2011
The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere , pedosphere , geosphere , hydrosphere , and atmosphere of the Earth. It is one of the most important cycles of the earth and allows for carbon to be recycled and reused throughout the biosphere and all of its organisms.
The carbon cycle was initially discovered by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier
All living organisms contain carbon CO 2 is found in all living organisms
Plants use carbon dioxide and water to form simple sugars (photosynthesis)
Carbon is needed for life Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
Carbon is necessary for life, but carbon dioxide can be harmful
Approximately 750 petagrams
Plants take in carbon dioxide and convert it to sugar which can be stored until used for energy.
This process is called photosynthesis.
CO 2 + H 2 O + sunlight yields O 2 + C 6 H 12 O 6
Plants release carbon dioxide as a waste product when they convert their stored sugar to chemical energy.
This process is called respiration.
C 6 H 12 O 6 + O 2 yields CO 2 + H 2 O + energy
Animals eat carbon contained in animal and plant tissues and release carbon dioxide as a waste product.
This process is respiration .
Decomposers release the carbon from dead plant and animal tissues back into the atmosphere.
Over millions of years fossil fuels may form from the buried remains of plants and animals.
This carbon reenters the atmosphere during combustion .
Dissolved carbon dioxide in sea water becomes deposited as calcium carbonate shells.
Over millions of years, these shells form sedimentary rock.
Ocean deposits are the biggest sink of carbon on the planet.
The Rock Cycle ultimately releases carbon stored in sedimentary rock.
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