The global carbon cycle can be divided into two categories: the geological, which operates over large time scales (millions of years), and the biological – physical, which operates at shorter time scales (days to thousands of years) and as humans we meddle with both categories.
The global carbon cycle refers to the movements of carbon, as it exchanges between reservoirs (sinks), and occurs because of various chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes. The ocean contains the largest active pool of carbon near the surface of the Earth, but the deep ocean part of this pool does not rapidly exchange with the atmosphere. The global carbon cycle is usually thought to have four major carbon sinks interconnected by pathways of exchange. These sinks are;
* the atmosphere,
* the terrestrial biosphere (which usually includes freshwater systems and non-living organic material, such as soil carbon),
* the oceans (which includes dissolved inorganic carbon and living and non-living marine biota),
* and the sediments (which includes fossil fuels ).
Carbon exists in the Earth’s atmosphere primarily as the gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Although it is a very small part of the atmosphere overall (approximately 0.04% and rising fast), it plays an important role in supporting life. Other gases containing carbon in the atmosphere are methane and chlorofluorocarbons (the latter is one we introduced and are still adding to). These are all greenhouse gases whose concentration in the atmosphere are increasing, and contributing to the rising average global surface temperature.
Read more: www.global-greenhouse-warming.com
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