Summary Of Carbon Cycle Process

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INTRODUCTION LATINO RUVOKO HES4801 02 603854 32027559 CARBON CYCLE SUMMARY OF CARBON CYCLE PROCESSES 18 AUGUST 2015 A. van Niekerk Carbon forms the basis of all life and all organic compounds that are found in nature. All organic molecules contain the element carbon(C). As pointed out by Botkin & Keller (2014), some of the important substances that contain carbon are coal, oil, and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which is the genetic material of all living matter. Carbon is therefore a vital element for all life on earth and for many chemical processes that support life. All forms of life should obtain carbon in one way or the other. These organisms, as carbon reservoirs, will not keep it in themselves for ever. It will be passed on to other systems…show more content…
In the geological phase, atmospheric carbon dioxide can directly diffuse into ocean water and dissolve. In the sea water, the carbon may be found in form of chemical compounds such as carbonate and hydrogen carbonate ions. Carbon in this form may be available to marine autotrophs that can utilize it. The ions may also precipitate as calcite , and through sedimentation it may form the rock limestone. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can also dissolve in rain water to form weak carbonic acid, sometimes called acid rain. The weak carbonic acid falls onto the soil and in the ocean. This increases the amount of carbon in the soil reservoir and in the ocean. This process lowers the pH of soil and ocean water. Carbon can also be transferred from the land to the ocean and other water bodies. Soluble carbon, suspended organic compounds and particulates can be transferred to the ocean through run off water. However the contribution of rivers and streams to oceanic carbon flux is relatively small globally. As highlighted by Botkin & Keller (2014), the amount of particulate carbon carried by rivers to the oceans is relatively small and insignificant. Carbon can also be transported from land to the ocean as organic particulates. The organic particulates can be transported from land to the ocean by wind. Floating marine organisms take up carbon in form of bicarbonate ions and use it to make…show more content…
Decomposition process also adds methane gas into the atmosphere which is another greenhouse gas. Some carbon from the organic matter may remain in the soil if not decomposed. Carbon from plants and animals may also remain in the soil in form of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are formed when carbon or organic matter is buried underground where anaerobic conditions are available and temperatures will be too cold so that decomposition will not take place. Under these conditions, the carbon is converted to sedimentary rocks such as coal. This process occurs over long periods of time such as millions of years. Burning of fossil fuels will release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels oxidizes solid carbon to gaseous carbon dioxide. According to Sulzman (2000), when fossil fuels are burned, carbon from long term storage is added to the short term cycle and this results in an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Johnson (2010) concurs by saying that each year, five and a half billion tons of carbon is released by burning fossil fuels of which 3.3 billion tons enters the

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