The Carbon Cycle (CO2 Cycle)

The Carbon Cycle or CO2 Cycle The earth is a great big recycling center

The earth releases about 800 billion tons of CO2 every year. And humans release about 40 billion tons every year (1/20th of what the earth releases). Man’s addition if mainly from burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) for energy.

Nothing is created or destroyed on our earth. All matter is changed or recycled.

Our earth is a great big recycling facility.

Fossil fuels supply 80% of the world’s energy. The almost 8 billion people on earth use lots of energy. About a billion people still want electricity. And a couple billion more would like to get more regular electricity, they have long black outs. California recently had electricity blackouts again.

Plants take in carbon dioxide (CO2), combine it with sunshine, some minerals and turn it into energy, this is photosynthesis. In the process they give off oxygen. Animals and bacteria, nearly all mobile life on earth uses this oxygen and then gives off CO2. This is one of the great circles of life. The Carbon Cycle.

Fun Fact: CO2 is plant food. Greenhouses add CO2 to help plants grow bigger faster. Worldwide food harvests are up about 30% largely because of more CO2 in the air, and it’s a bit warmer (U.S. 1.6

Fun fact: When we exhale, we give off about 40,000 parts per million (ppm) of CO2.

Simple diagram of the Carbon or CO2 Cycle

Credit: Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

Fun fact: Just like a can of a carbonated drink, like cola or beer, lets off CO2 as it warms. The ocean does the same thing. Cold liquids hold more CO2 than warm liquids.

The ocean depths, below 200 feet, range from 34° and 39° F. And it can be very hot down there too. There are vents releasing hot gasses from the inner earth. These vents are hot as 700°.