The Carbon cycle is the way that carbon moves around our planet. It is in everything we see and is always around us. It is used to help us grow, to make diamonds, and to make fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, peat and petrol. The carbon cycle shows us how carbon can be taken by plants and the ocean, and how it is added to the atmosphere by decomposition, humans, combustion (fires and burning), fossil fuels and from animals. The main points I am going to look at is how the ocean and plants affect the removal of carbon in our atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis, and how the carbon is added back to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.
What is photosynthesis?
Photosynthesis is the chemical process of plants, and some bacteria, both on land and in the ocean, that take carbon dioxide (CO²) from the air and using the light from the sun to create glucose, their source of food and oxygen, which we need to breathe. All green plants can photosynthesise because they have chloroplasts, which is the green pigment which attracts the Carbon Dioxide in the air. Photosynthesis happens in the plant leaves because it is there where the stomata’s are. The stomata’s are small holes that let CO² in, and O² (oxygen) out. When plants make the glucose, which they need to survive, it is then passed on to birds and insects who eat the leaves and to us, through food. During the day, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, using up the carbon. But at night, when there is no light for the plants to collects their energy from, the plants release all the carbon that they would usually lose. This is called excretion.
What are fossil fuels?
Fossil fuels are things like coal, natural gases, peat and petrol. They are made from decomposed animals and plants that have sifted back into the ground and over millions of years have turned into a new substance. Oil and gas are made under the ocean floor from decomposed sea life whereas coal is formed on land. Coal is usually found in swampy areas because coal is made when remains can’t decompose properly because of moisture. Over thousands and sometimes millions of years, the plant material is covered by layers of soil. It generates heat and stays trapped underground because of the soil layers above. The pressure and heat slowly changes the plant material into peat, which is an early stage of making coal. It then takes thousands more years to convert the peat into coal. Oil and gas is found under the ocean floor because it needs high pressure and a hot temperature to be made. Heat and pressure transforms this material into kerogen, which then makes petroleum (petrol) or natural gas. Sometimes, the carbon turns into diamonds. The fossil fuels are vital to human life. We use them to power our homes and cars, and to fuel power plants.
Because fossil fuels take millions of years to make, there are a lot of organisms in all stages of turning into a fossil fuel. Under the ocean, in the sedimentary rock,...