The carbon cycle describes how carbon transfers between different reservoirs located on Earth. This cycle is important for maintaining a stable climate and carbon balance on Earth. Carbon is an essential element for all life forms on Earth. Whether these life forms take in carbon to help manufacture food or release carbon as part of respiration, the intake and output of carbon is a component of all plant and animal life.
Carbon is in a constant state of movement from place to place. It is stored in what is known as reservoirs, and it moves between these reservoirs through a variety of processes, including photosynthesis, burning fossil fuels, and simply releasing breath from the lungs. The movement of carbon from the reservoir to the reservoir is known as the carbon cycle.
Carbon can be stored in a variety of reservoirs, including plants and animals, which is why they are considered carbon life forms. Carbon is used by plants to build leaves and stems, which are then digested by animals and used for cellular growth. In the atmosphere, carbon is stored in the form of gases, such as carbon dioxide. It is also stored in oceans, captured by many types of marine organisms. Some organisms, such as clams or coral, use the carbon to form shells and skeletons. Most of the carbon on the planet is contained within rocks, minerals, and other sediment buried beneath the surface of the planet.
The carbon cycle is vital to life on Earth. Nature tends to keep carbon levels balanced, meaning that the amount of carbon naturally released from reservoirs is equal to the amount that is naturally absorbed by reservoirs. Maintaining this carbon balance allows the planet to remain hospitable for life. Scientists believe that humans have upset this balance by burning fossil fuels, which has added more carbon to the atmosphere than usual and led to climate change and global warming.
Importance of Carbon Cycle
Even though carbon dioxide is found in small traces in the atmosphere, it plays important role in balancing the energy and traps the long-wave radiations from the sun. Therefore, it acts like a blanket over the planet. If the carbon cycle is disturbed it will result in serious consequences such as climatic changes and global warming.
Carbon is an integral component of every life form on earth. From proteins and lipids to even our DNA. Furthermore, all known life on earth is based on carbon. Hence, the carbon cycle, along with the nitrogen cycle and oxygen cycle, plays a vital role in the existence of life on earth.