Geography A-Level - Physical - Impacts of the Carbon Cycle

  • Created by: Noah_S
  • Created on: 15-06-21 16:15
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  • Impacts of the Carbon Cycle
    • On the Cycle
      • Natural Processes
        • Wildfires
          • Rapidly transfers large amounts of carbon from biomass to atmospheric
          • Loss of vegetation decreases   photosynthesis, so less carbon is removed
          • Can encourage growth of new plants in the longer term, which can make it carbon neutral
        • Volcanic Activity
          • Carbon stored within the Lithosphere transferred to the Atmosphere
          • Recent volcanic eruptions have released less carbon than anthropogenic sources, but there is potential to a very large eruption to disrupt the cycle significantly
      • Human Processes
        • Farming practices
          • Agriculture releases carbon via animals respiring and digesting food, ploughing soil which releases carbon and more
          • As the world's population has risen, carbon emissions from farming practices has increases. Mechanisation of farming has also increased carbon emissions
        • Deforestration
          • 13 Million Ha of forests are deforested each year
          • If the cleared forest is burned, there is a rapid flow of carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere
          • Cleared forest means there is less   photosynthesis, reducing the intake of carbon from the atmosphere
        • Land use changes
          • Cities are responsible for around 47% of carbon emissions in 2012, expected to increase to 49% in 2030
          • Concrete production contributes 5% of anthropogenic carbon, releasing lots of carbon into the atmosphere when urban areas expand
        • Fossil Fuels
          • Extracting and burning of fossil fuels transfers lithospheric carbon into atmospheric
          • Without human intervention, the carbon would remain sequestered in the lithosphere, so humans are adding more carbon into the cycle
    • From the Cycle
      • Land
        • If there were no carbon in the atmosphere,   photosynthesis could not take place
        • Changes can reduce the amount of carbon stored in the land, like warming temperatures release carbon stored in permafrost
        • An increase in global temperatures could also increase the frequency of wildfires
      • Atmosphere and Climate
        • Carbon in the atmosphere act as greenhouse gases, trapping some heat in the atmosphere
        • As greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase, temperatures are expected to rise
        • Changes in the temperature across the globe, it will affect other aspects of the climates, such as more intense storms
      • Oceans
        • Increased carbon in the atmosphere can increase the acidity of the oceans, as they absorb CO2. This can have adverse effects on marine life
        • Global warming can also affects oceans, such as phytoplankton which may not be able to survive higher temperatures, meaning less carbon is removed from the atmosphere
        • Warmer water may not be able to absorb as much CO2, so as temperatures increase the potential amount of carbon able to be dissolved decreases


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