Orange buttons are carbon cycle processes; purple buttons are carbon cycle reservoirs. Determine a pathway your carbon atoms will take, starting from your entry point reservoir. The Sun is the dominant source of all external energy to the Earth System. For example, the oceans absorb a large portion of the CO 2 emitted through anthropogenic activities. Timothy Bralower and David Bice, Professors of Geosciences, College of Earth and Mineral Science, The Pennsylvania State University. The rest is located in the ocean, atmosphere, and in living organisms. Authors: Drs. Carbon on the Move! Many countries are cutting down forests to make way for agriculture and roads. How might the increased need for energy impact the global carbon cycle? The world's population has passed the 7 billion mark. Which carbon pathway(s) has the greatest potential to warm our climate further? The carbon cycle is anything but simple! As you investigate reservoir pop-up windows, think about whether a reservoir is in the Biosphere or the Geosphere. In this section, you will use a global Carbon Cycle interactive to investigate carbon's many pathways through the larger, more complex global carbon cycle. In the global carbon cycle, does carbon move at faster time scales through the Biosphere or through the Geosphere? Why? For example, it may start off as a gas and change to a solid, or carbon may be present in one reservoir as carbon dioxide but in another reservoir may be a complex organic carbon compound such as carbohydrate sugar. Most of Earth’s carbon is stored in rocks and sediments. You will be using important information in the pop-up windows to identify and describe two different carbon pathways through the global carbon cycle. Check out these resources below: The geosphere and the biosphere are the two components of the Earth System; the geosphere is the collective name for the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, and the atmosphere. The carbon cycle describes the process in which carbon atoms continually travel from the atmosphere to the Earth and then back into the atmosphere. The site editor may also be contacted with questions or comments about this Open Educational Resource. Climate and the Carbon Cycle: Unit Overview, http://cleanet.org/clean/about/selected_by_CLEAN, NASA | Earth Science Week: Keeping Up With Carbon - YouTube, Lab 4: Deforestation and the Carbon Cycle, Lab 8: Slowing Down an Amplifying Greenhouse Effect. Please consult our instructions for enabling Flash in your web browser. As you draw your arrows between the reservoirs, think about about how long it takes for these carbon atoms to move from one reservoir to another. Further Reading: Nitrogen Cycle – An Elemental Cycle. The carbon cycle is associated with the availability of other compounds as well. The key in the upper right-hand corner lets you distinguish between carbon reservoirs and the carbon cycle processes. How might this practice disrupt the carbon cycle? For example, the oceans absorb a large portion of the CO2 emitted through anthropogenic activities. For example, a carbon atom can stay in sedimentary rocks for millions of years before moving to a different carbon reservoir. What are the time scales for carbon moving from one reservoir to another? Here are some hints to help you use the interactive: This content is available in flash format only. In Part A, you investigated how carbon moves through a forest carbon cycle. This would be an example of a "very long and slow time scale." Does the carbon change from one type of carbon compound to another when it moves between reservoirs? Carbon helps to regulate the Earth’s temperature, makes all life possible, is a key ingredient in the food that sustains us, and provides a major source of the energy to fuel our global economy. In this section, you will use a global Carbon Cycle interactive to investigate carbon's many pathways through the larger, more complex global carbon cycle. Before you begin the global carbon cycle activity below, become familiar with the "The Carbon Cycle" interactive by clicking the orange and purple rollover buttons and making note of the different types of background information that pop-up.