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Human Effect On The Carbon Cycle

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Introduction

Human Effect On The Carbon Cycle An increase in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, majority of it being carbon dioxide, is the cause of global warming, otherwise known as the enhanced greenhouse effect. During the past 200 years there has been an increase of 30% in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are human activities, which are responsible for the rapid increase in carbon dioxide concentrations. In order to assess the impact of human activity on the carbon cycle, scientists are currently working to improve their knowledge of the circulation between the atmosphere, the oceans, the land and the biosphere. ...read more.

Middle

Another 1-2 billion tonnes is emitted per year from land clearing. About 3 billion tonnes of the carbon stays in the atmosphere. The ocean takes up just over 2 billion tonnes. The remaining 2-3 tonnes of carbon is taken from the air and stored by terrestrial sinks such as growing forests. The Earth's surface is warmed as sunlight passes through the atmosphere. Heat, or infrared radiation, is released back into incoming energy. Water vapour, carbon dioxide and some other trace gases can absorb part of this radiation, allowing it to warm the lower atmosphere, while the remainder is emitted to space. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lower atmosphere is likely to warm up, changing the weather and climate. For 800 years before the Industrial Revolution the global cycle remained fairly unchanged, but in the last 200 years the change in the cycle has been rapid and very noticeable. Human activity is responsible for the rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Proof of this is: * Between the northern and southern hemisphere measured variations of atmospheric concentrations match calculations of carbon dioxide released from fossil fuel combustion. Regions of peak fossil fuel use are the biggest global sources of carbon dioxide. * There is a slight decline in atmospheric oxygen concentrations as carbon in fossil fuels and plants combines with oxygen during combustion to form carbon dioxide. ...read more.

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