Earth’s Climate History and the importance of Carbon

A fabulous short presentation about the Earth’s climate history from BBC at this link.

global carbon cycle

The Carbon Cycle- How carbon is exchanged thorough the Earth

This diagram of the fast carbon cycle shows the movement of carbon between land, atmosphere, and oceans. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes, and red are human contributions in gigatons of carbon per year. White numbers indicate stored carbon. (Diagram adapted from U.S. DOE, Biological and Environmental Research Information System.)

The ebb and flow of the fast carbon cycle is visible in the changing seasons. As the large land masses of Northern Hemisphere green in the spring and summer, they draw carbon out of the atmosphere. This graph shows the difference in carbon dioxide levels from the previous month, with the long-term trend removed. This cycle peaks in August, with about 2 parts per million of carbon dioxide drawn out of the atmosphere. In the fall and winter, as vegetation dies back in the northern hemisphere, decomposition and respiration returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. These maps show net primary productivity (the amount of carbon consumed by plants) on land (green) and in the oceans (blue) during August and December, 2010. In August, the green areas of North America, Europe, and Asia represent plants using carbon from the atmosphere to grow. In December, net primary productivity at high latitudes is negative, which outweighs the seasonal increase in vegetation in the southern hemisphere. As a result, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases. (Graph by Marit Jentoft-Nilsen and Robert Simmon, using data from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. Maps by Robert Simmon and Reto Stöckli, using MODIS data.)

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