The Carbon and Water Cycle

What is 'The Carbon Cycle'?
The movement of carbon as a solid, liquid or gas between the Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere and Geosphere.
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Name the five Carbon Reservoirs:
Atmosphere, oceans, vegetation/animals, rock and soil.
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What's a Carbon Sink?
When more carbon enters a reservoir than leaves it.
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What are Carbon Reservoirs?
They're stores of carbon which absorb or release carbon.
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What two components can The Carbon Cycle be separated into?
The geological (millions of years) and the biological cycle (days - thousands of years)
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What is the Geological Cycle?
The movement of carbon between the rock cycle by processes of weathering and dissolution, precipitation of minerals, burial and subduction, and volcanic eruptions.
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What is the Biological Cycle?
The movement of carbon between land, ocean and atmosphere through photosynthesis and respiration.
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What is Photosynthesis?
Is the utilisation of solar energy to turn CO2 into glucose. The glucose is used in respiration.
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What is Respiration?
The release of energy held in glucose for use in metabolism. The glucose is then converted back into carbon dioxide and released back into the atmosphere.
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What is the Primary Source of Carbon?
The Earth's interior. Carbon escapes from the Earth's interior at constructive and destructive plate boundaries. Volcanoes too,
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What's the Lithosphere?
The crust and uppermost mantle constituting the solid outer layer of the Earth.
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What's the Biosphere?
The total sum of all living matter.
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What is Decomposition?
Decomposition is process by which decomposers (worms, enzymes etc.) break down the cells of dead organisms into individual atoms. Releasing gases, including carbon, back into the carbon cycle.
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What are Oceanic Carbon Pumps?
Water dissolves CO2. When water is cooled, making it dense enough to sink. When the cool water returns to the surface and warms. It release CO2 into the atmosphere.
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What's a Positive Feedback Loop?
Positive feedback loops amplify or enhance changes moving a system away from equilibrium.
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What's a Negative Feedback Loop?
Negative feedback loops lessen or slow changes moving a system closer to equilibrium.
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What's Dynamic Equilibrium?
A state of balance between ongoing processes. (Stable)
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What's Combustion?
When organic matter is reacted (burned) in the presence of oxygen. Releasing CO2, water and energy.
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What's Biomass Combustion?
The burning of living and dead organisms. Including both human induced burning and natural occurring fires.
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Why's Deforestation a problem?
Deforestation is largely driven by the demand for agricultural land. We need our forests as a carbon sink. If we destroy our forests, this releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere potentially causing a positive feedback loop.
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Why is Urbanisation an issue?
Over 50% of the worlds population live in cities. City expansion causes land use changes from vegetation/agriculture to urbanised land. Urbanisation releases large amounts of CO2 to be released from cement production and energy consumption/transport.
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What's Carbon Sequestration?
The capturing of CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it long term.
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What is Geologic Sequestration?
CO2 captured and stored in liquid form underground (typically deleted oil reservoirs).
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What is Biologic Sequestration?
The use of plants to capture CO2 from the atmosphere then storing it in the stems or roots of plants, or the soil itself.
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What's Ocean Acidification?
When carbon dioxide dissolves into the ocean, creating carbonic acid. Ocean acidification largely affects coral reefs but its affects on the wider ocean are unknown.
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Why are coral reefs so important?
They provide food and buffer the impact of sea level rise for 500 million people.
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What's an issue with Ocean Warming?
Phytoplankton grows better in cool, nutrient rich environments. Warmer oceans could decrease the abundance of phytoplankton potentially reducing the ocean's ability to absorb carbon. Although increased CO2 levels could increase growth.
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What is Ocean Salinity?
The concentration of salt in seawater. Higher precipitation levels and temperature reduce salinity.
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What are the causes of Sea Level Rise?
Melting of terrestrial ice (as a result of global warming) and thermal expansion (when water is heated it expands)
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By 2100, how much do we expect the sea level to rise?
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What's Climate Mitigation?
Mitigation means dealing with the causes of climate change by reducing emissions.
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What's Climate Adaptation?
Adaptation refers to dealing with the impacts of climate change
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Name the five Carbon Reservoirs:


Atmosphere, oceans, vegetation/animals, rock and soil.

Card 3


What's a Carbon Sink?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What are Carbon Reservoirs?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What two components can The Carbon Cycle be separated into?


Preview of the front of card 5
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