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.
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!
There is much doom and gloom when we talk about climate change. But the Earth isn’t all bad. This post invites you to take a break from the negativity and create a healthy balance between what’s wrong with the world and what’s right with it. I like to call these two concepts “negative” and “positive” inspirational stories.
“Negative” inspirational stories are the ones that inspire you by feeding your negative emotions, such as sadness, fear, anger, and shock. Continue reading
In my short time working with children, I’ve noticed that children have a greater capacity for understanding and enjoying science than is currently being explored. That is not to say that we should focus more on science by taking away from the other areas that are being taught in school, or make additional time for science. Continue reading
Global warming is caused by two types of forcings: natural forcing, which involves solar cycles and the Milankovitch cycles ; and anthropogenic forcing, which is human-based. In this article, we’ll discuss anthropogenic forcing, as it accounts for more than half of the current global warming, according to IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report. The contributions of the two forcings (anthropogenic and natural) to global warming are represented on the graph below.
This graph uses data from climate model simulations and observations to estimate the contribution of each forcing (natural and anthropogenic). The total anthropogenic contribution to global warming is estimated in orange (Combined anthropogenic forcings) and the natural contribution is estimated in blue (Natural forcings). Source: IPCC 5th Assessment Report, Working Group I.
There is virtually no doubt in the scientific community today that the planet is currently undergoing a global climate change, commonly known as global warming.
Earth has gone through several episodes of global climate change in the past caused by the Milankovitch cycles which led to ice ages and intermittent warmer periods, the latest of which we are living in now. However, this newest global climate change was not sparked by natural causes. The Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2014, concluded that there is a probability of over 95% that this global warming is being caused primarily by human activities, especially by producing carbon dioxide. Continue reading