The Carbon Cycle
Sanyam Jain, Academic Content Writer
Importance of Carbon
Components of all the molecules of life– carbohydrates, nucleic acids, proteins, fats and vitamins.
Carbonate salts form both the exoskeleton and endoskeleton of living organisms.
Sources of Carbon
Atmosphere: Carbon occurs in the air as Carbon dioxide.
Hydrosphere: Carbon dioxide is either dissolved in water or occurs as carbonate/hydrogen carbonate ions.
Lithosphere: Carbon occurs in the elemental form of diamonds and graphite.
Cycling of Carbon
Uptake of Carbon dioxide
Green plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into glucose by photosynthesis.
Aquatic organisms use it to form their calcerous (inorganic carbonate containing) shells.
Release of Carbon dioxide
Utilisation of glucose during respiration to provide energy releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.
Combustion of fuels for heating, cooking, transportation and industrial processes.
Carbon is thus cycled repeatedly through different forms by various physical and biological activities.
Greenhouse effect: Trapping of the heat of the Sun by gases in the Earth’s atmosphere making the Earth warmer.
Carbon dioxide is one of the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect, called greenhouse gases.
Increasing carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere is increasing leads to higher Earth’s temperature causing global warming.