Cycles of a living planet
The Earth is a dynamic planet. Geological and biological processes cause energy and the elements necessary for life-carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus- to circulate through global “reservoirs.” These reservoirs are the biosphere (the living portion of our planet), the atmosphere, the ocean, and the solid Earth. It is only because of this cycling that life can thrive. The cycling of elements determines the environment, for example by regulating the composition, and thus the temperature, of the atmosphere.
Elements that sustain life stay in the Earth’s reservoirs for different lengths of time. Carbon in the form of coal or carbonate rocks may remain in the solid Earth for millions of years, but as carbon dioxide it stays in the atmosphere for only a few years. The amount of material transferred between reservoirs can be enormous. The uppermost meter of the entire ocean evaporates to the atmosphere every year, to be returned as rain or snow. This transfer is one of the most important factors controlling climate.Carbon is a major component of all life, and in the form of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, it helps to maintain a habitable range in temperatures. Carbon moves through all the Earth’s reservoirs. Most of it is contained in sedimentary rocks: coal, chalk, lime-stone, and shale. But carbon in sedimentary rocks, with an average residence time of 400 million years, participates little in global carbon circulation over shorter times. The average residence times of carbon in the atmosphere (5 years), the biosphere (13 years), and the oceans (350 years) are much shorter.
Read the article below and go through the 2 links on carbon dioxide. Answer the following questions in your notebook about what you read.
What are the big ideas?
What are 3 significant details?
What did you not know before?
What is the importance or relevance of the big ideas and the significant details?
How did what you read connect with what you learned about photosynthesis and the significance of this process for earth cycles?
Introduction to the carbon cycle
2015 Begins with CO2 above 400 PPM Mark
Water is part of the Earth, its atmosphere, and all of its living organisms. As the chief force responsible for weathering and erosion, it shapes the surface of our planet. Water travels from ocean to atmosphere by evaporation, and from atmosphere to ocean by precipitation. The circulation of water from one reservoir to another consumes or releases energy, moderating the Earth’s temperature.