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Global Carbon Cycle

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  • 1. The Global Carbon Cycle
  • 2. The Carbon Cycle
    • Describes movement of carbon among reservoirs in the Earth system
    • What natural processes add C02 to the atmosphere?
    • What natural processes remove C02 from the atmosphere?
    • How do humans impact the carbon cycle?
  • 3. Carbon
    • Carbon (C), the fourth most abundant element in the Universe, after hydrogen (H), helium (He), and oxygen (O)
    • The building block of life.
    • Carbon cycles through the land, ocean, atmosphere, and the Earth’s interior in a major biogeochemical cycle (the circulation of chemical components through the biosphere from or to the geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere)
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/
  • 4. The Carbon Cycle
    • Reservoirs (storage places) for carbon in the
    • Earth System
    • Atmosphere: Mostly CO2, smaller amounts of CH4
    • Biosphere: carbon is the fundamental “building block” of organic tissue
    • Hydrosphere: CO2 dissolves in ocean water
    • Geosphere
      • Carbonate rocks (limestone – CaC03)
      • Fossil fuels
  • 5. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/images/CT_overviewCreservoirs_v2.png Billions of metric tons (10 9 ): gigaton Petagram (10 15 grams )
  • 6. Global Carbon Cycle
    • The global carbon cycle can be divided into two categories:
      • biological/physical , ( Fast Track ) which operates at shorter time scales (days to thousands of years).
      • geological , ( Slow Track )which operates over large time scales (millions of years), and the
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/
  • 7. Biological/Physical (Short-term) Carbon Cycle http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/climate/images/carboncycle.jpg
  • 8. The Geological (Long-term) Carbon Cycle Source: NASA
  • 9. Processes
    • Photosynthesis: removes CO 2 from atmosphere
    • energy (sunlight) + 6CO 2 + H 2 O = C 6 H 12 O 6 + 6O 2
    • Respiration: adds CO2 to atmosphere
    • C 6 H 12 O 6 (organic matter) + 6O 2 = 6CO 2 + 6 H 2 O + energy
  • 10. http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/climate/images/carboncycle.jpg
  • 11. Human Impacts on the Carbon Cycle http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/images/carbon_cycle-br.jpg