CARBON - Stores and fluxes of the carbon cycle

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  • Stores, fluxes and processes
    • Fluxes - flows between two spheres
      • Photo-synthesis, respiration, volcanic eruptions, diffusion from the ocean (surface water to atmosphere), decomposition, weathering and erosion, sedimentation to fossilisation. (in order of speed and amount of Pg/C) - fastest and largest first, e.g:
        • Photo-synthesis = 103Pg/C per year, with a flux speed of 100 years.
      • Sediment-ation - 0.2 Pg/C per year, with a flux speed of >100 years.
        • Geological C cycle - SLOW CYCLE
    • The carbon cycle
      • the biochemical cycle by which carbon moves between earth SPHERES. it is a closed system made up of open subsystems which have inputs, throughputs and outputs.
        • BIOsphere - Carbon is found as carbon atoms in living and dead organisms.
        • HYDRO-sphere - Carbon stored as dissolved CO2.
        • Lithosphere - Carbon as carbonates in (rock) limestone, chalk and fossil fuels, and PURE graphite in DIAMOND.
        • ATMOSphere - exists as gases such as CO2 and CH4.
    • Stores - where carbon is retained for a period of time
      • LONG TERM (hundreds of years to millennia:
        • Oceanic (deep) stores 38,000 Pg/C. most C is dissolved at great depths.
        • Crustal/ terrestrial geological store around 100,000,000 Pg/C, and an extra 4000 including fossil fuels. Sedimentary rocks cycling over a millenia.
      • SHORT TERM (seconds to decades):
        • Terrestrial soil - 1500 Pg/C stored. from plant materials, micro-organisms break up most matter down to CO2. quicker in warmer climates.
        • Oceanic (surface) - 1000 Pg/C. PHYSICAL (CO2 dissolving in water), BIOLOGICAL (plankton). some carbon sinks deeper.
        • Atmospheric - 560 Pg/C stored. CO2 and CH4 store carbon for up to 100 years.
        • Terrestrial ecosystems - photo-synthesis takes in carbon and is stored. 560 Pg/C
    • Processes (1-5 = fastest to slowest)
      • 1. Weathering - Biological (Burrowing of animals and plant roots), Chemical (carbonic acid in rain dissolving carbonate-based rocks) and mechanical (permafrost thawing)
      • 2. De-composition - plant and animal particles that result from de-composition after death and surface erosion store carbon.
      • 3. Trans-portation - Rivers carry ions to the ocean and are deposited.
      • 4. Sediment-ation - sediments accumulate over millennia  and bury older sediments below such as shale and limestone.
      • 5. Meta-morphosis - The layering and burial of sediment causes pressure to build, causing deep sediments to be compressed to rock (limestone becomes marble, shale becomes slate).
  • Biological/ Physical carbon cycle - FAST CYCLE due to rapid turnover


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