Tag Archives: carbon

Day 65: The Carbon cycle – The Impacts (Part 3)

Disrupting the carbon cycle has serious impacts on the planet. Something as “little” as offsetting the natural flow of carbon affects everything that is linked to carbon (in other words, all life on Earth). Let’s take a look at how pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the ocean impact the planet. Continue reading

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Day 64: The Carbon Cycle – how do humans affect it? (Part 2)

Like I mentioned in Part 1, the scary part about analyzing the carbon cycle is realizing how much humans are affecting it. If we look at the diagram of the carbon cycle, one of the ways carbon transits from sphere to sphere is from the subsurface (fossil fuels) to the surface by extraction, then to the atmosphere by burning the fossil fuels. The atmosphere also exchanges with the hydrosphere, so part of the carbon that we burn is then absorbed by the ocean. Continue reading

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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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