Day 63: The Carbon Cycle (Part 1)

The image below represents the carbon cycle,  one of my favorite cycles. Carbon is one of the elements responsible for life – it is so important for life that often compounds containing carbon are called “organic”.  This is how carbon transits through the  geosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere.

CCdiagramWEB.jpg

Source: University of New Hampshire, 2008

The scary part about the carbon cycle is how much we, humans and living organisms, are actually affecting the carbon cycle. We’re actually transforming the roles some of the spheres play in the carbon cycle.  To help you understand how carbon is transiting through these spheres and what role we play in it, here are some questions to think about.

How much is the atmosphere absorbing?

How much is the atmosphere emitting?

How much is the ocean absorbing?

How much is the ocean emitting?

How much is the geosphere absorbing?

How much is the geosphere emitting?

Which sphere(s) act as a carbon sink (absorbing more than it emits)?

Which sphere(s) act as a carbon source (emitting more than it absorbs)?

With these questions, you can see for yourself how the natural flow of carbon circles and how we impact this cycle. If you didn’t get it, stay tuned for Part 2!

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Filed under Pedagogy, Science

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