Explain the Carbon Cycle

Carbon is an element that crucial to every living organism. It is also a key component of our atmosphere.

Carbon cycles through our Earth, the ocean, biotic factors, abiotic factors, and the air constantly. The carbon recycles among five major locations or influences. These majors items include the, atmosphere, the terrestrial biosphere, the earth’s interior, the ocean, and human influence.

Let’s take a look at what happens at each of these items areas or influences.

Carbon is found in the atmosphere in at least two forms, carbon dioxide, and methane. This atmospheric carbon can be absorbed by autotrophs like plants, and plankton to be used for photosynthesis. It can also be absorbed by bodies of water and the ocean. When carbon is absorbed by the ocean it reacts with the water and creates carbonic acid.

carbon cycle
carbon cycle

The terrestrial biosphere is another term for the earth’s land. There are several paths carbon can take on the biosphere. First, there is an exchange between plants and animals. Plants absorb carbon for photosynthesis, and animals release carbon during cellular respiration. Also, heterotrophs eat plants that contain carbon. Animals also release carbon as methane during digestion and the soil contains decomposers that release carbon into the atmosphere and the soil.

Carbon is also stored in the earth’s interior. Carbon in the lithosphere includes fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, shale, and deposits like limestone.Volcanoes may release some of this carbon stored in the lithosphere.

carbon cycle lithosphere

Up next, the ocean The ocean has the greatest exchange quantity of cycled carbon and stores a large amount of carbon. The ocean absorbs carbon in the form of carbon dioxide. The ocean also has a large amount of plankton that absorbs carbon dioxide for photosynthesis

Humans also Influence the movement of carbon. Humans burn fossil fuel which releases carbon into the atmosphere. Also, the production of clinker which is used for cement from limestone also releases carbon Into the atmosphere. In addition, deforestation from humans can increase the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.


driving car releases carbon

Carbon cycles through all of these different sources and locations. It cycles between biotic and abiotic factors.

Carbon is important for life because it is a versatile element that can form a wide variety of molecules, including those that are essential for life.

These properties make carbon an ideal element for supporting life. Some of the most important carbon-based molecules for life include:

  • Proteins: Proteins are essential for the structure and function of cells. They are made up of amino acids, which are linked together by peptide bonds.
  • Nucleic acids: Nucleic acids store and transmit genetic information. They are made up of nucleotides, which are linked together by phosphodiester bonds.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are used for energy storage and as structural components of cells. They are made up of monosaccharides, which are linked together by glycosidic bonds.
  • Lipids: Lipids are used for energy storage and as structural components of cell membranes. They are made up of fatty acids, which are linked together by ester bonds.