•Carbon is an element found throughout theuniverse.• It is found in all living things and withoutcarbon there would be no life on Earth. • The characteristics of the remarkable carbon atom make possible the compounds that are necessary for life on Earth.
• Carbon is also part of nonliving thingssuch the oceans, rocks ,animal shells,and the atmosphere.• Carbon doesn’t just stay in one placehowever. It’s always on the move.• Carbon atoms continually movethrough living things, the oceans, theatmosphere and the crust of theEarth.• This movement is known as thecarbon cycle
Carbon dioxide, a gas in our atmosphere,is partly carbon and is an important partof the carbon cycle.A carbon dioxide molecule is made up ofone part carbon and two parts oxygen. carbon oxygen
Carbon moves through its “cycle” in several ways,one way is by photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is taken into the plant and changed into plant food. The carbon is then stored in this food. In this process of http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca photosynthesis, oxygen is given
Carbon on the move through respiration(breathing) During respiration, animals take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
In this diagram we see the exchange of the gases— carbon dioxide and oxygen between plants and animals.arthursclipart.org
Here we see carbon on the move through thefood chain.Plants are the foundation of a food chain. Thecarbon that is stored in its food is passed downfrom one animal to another though this chain.
And here, carbon is being moved throughdecomposition.That’s because when plants and animals die, theirbodies decay and carbon dioxide is released intothe air—carbon moves back into the air.
3. From liveplants andanimals(respiration)and burningfuel back intothe atmosphereas carbondioxide.
4. From deadplants andanimalsthroughdecompositionback into theatmosphere ascarbon dioxide.
Here is a website with threechoices which show the movementof carbon through the carboncycle. Simply choose downloadand then select the process youwish to study. http://www.kscience.co.uk/animations/carbon _cycle.htm
Now let’s look at how fossil fuels fitinto the carbon cycle.Remember fossil fuels are our mainsource of energy.We use fossil fuels to:
1. Power all our vehicles--cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes andtractors.
2. Generate our electricity. SteamOften, coal or natural gas is burned to heatwater. The water changes into steam whichturns a turbine which then turns a coil of wireinside a magnet generating electricity.
Large generators produce the electricity we usein our homes, schools and work places.
3. Power all the factories that make thethings we use.
Do you remember how fossil fuels—crudeoil, coal and natural gas—are formed?Yes, they are formed from the remains ofplants and animals.The carbon from the dead plants andanimals is stored in fossil fuel.
However, in order to use fossil fuels forenergy, we must burn them. And when they burn, carbon dioxide is given off and returned to the air— carbon on the move again.
Some of thiscarbon iscycled backthroughcarbondioxide tothe plantsparticularlytrees.
Can you follow carbon moving through the cycle in the diagram on the left.National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR