BY5.8 Carbon Cycle

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Carbon cycle:

  • CO2 is added to the atmosphere from:
    • repsiration of plants, animals and microorganisms
    • combustion of fossil fuels
  • photosynthesis uses about as much CO2 as it releases
  • production of carbs, fats and protein contains carbon which is needed for plant and animal growth
    • remains of dead animals are decomposed by saprophytes in the soil which release CO2
  • accumulation of dead animals in aerobic coditions forms coal, oil and other fossil fuels
    • burning these releases CO2

Humans and the carbon cycle:

2 main reasons for the increase:

  • burning fossil fuels
  • deforestation

burning fossil fuels

  • leads to a 70% increase in CO2 levels
  • most of this is form industrialised countries


  • leads to a 30% increase in CO2 levels
  • estamted that 50% of the world forests have been removed
  • forests help to maintian the balance of CO2 and O2
  • CO2 is a green house gas thet absorbs radiation from the Earth
  • this accumulation leads to global warming
  • CO2 represents 49% of all green house gases
  • other green house gases including CFC's are used as aerosol propellants and coolants in fridges
  • the amount of these green house gases in the environment is rising
  • green house gases form a layer in the atmosphere that allows high energy colar radiaiton…


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