This graph is from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC: http://www.ipcc.ch). Although it portrays a simplified carbon cycle is does illustrate, and quantify, the movement (or flux) of carbon between the atmosphere, biosphere, and ocean on an annual basis. Additionally, it highlights, with red arrows, changes in the carbon cycle due to human activity. Therefore, it creates a nice balance between “natural fluxes” and “anthropogenic fluxes”. What should be pointed out from this graphic is that although the natural fluxes actually remove more carbon from the atmosphere on an annual basis via the processes of photosynthesis and diffusion, the Earth’s climate is near equilibrium. What is clear from this graph is the addition of carbon to the atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels.
1.How is carbon absorbed into trees and the oceans? What is the fate of the carbon in these reservoirs – how is it used and in what form?
2.How and why is carbon released by humans.
3.What are fossil fuels? How are they created and is this a short-term or long-term process?
Download: Global Carbon Cycling Activity