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Flashcards in Carbon Cycle Deck (64)
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How do humans release carbon?

Combustion of fossil fuels


How is carbon released naturally?

Acid rain
volcanic activity
(natural processes have the largest flow of carbon)


Types of carbon

Geological and biologically derived carbon


How much CO2 was released from the Icelandic eruption?

300 000 tonnes per day


What does sequested mean?

naturally stored


What are long term stores of carbon?

Crustal/terrestrial/geological=> sedimentary rocks, very slow cycling over millennia
Oceanic (deep) =>most carbon is dissolved, inorganic carbon stored at greater depths, very slow cycle


What are short term stores of carbon?

Terrestrial soil=> microorganisms break most organic matter down into CO2 from biomass
Oceanic (surface)=> CO@ dissolves into the water and phytoplankton photosynthesises releasing carbon, making the exchange very rapid
Atmospheric=> greenhouse gases are stored such as CO2
Terrestrial ecosystems=>CO2 is taken in during photosynthesis and is stored in plants, especially trees, rapid exchange


What key processes are involved in the carbon cycle?

weathering (mechanical, biological, chemical) decomposition
sedimentation (the formation of sedimentary rocks from the compaction of calcium carbonate from shells and skeletons of marine creatures)
metamorphism ( heat and pressure create metamorphic rocks)


What implications are there for the earths climate if temperature increased by 2'C ?

- Stronger storm activity, increased precipitations in higher latitudes, drought, sea level rise
+Grow different types of crops, easier to travel via boats


What implications are there for ecosystems if temperature increased by 2'C ?

- 10% of land species will face extinction, reduced biodiversity, 80% of coral reefs could be bleached


What implications are there for the hydrological cycle if temperature increased by 2'C ?

- rivers will dry up, small glaciers will disappear decreasing river discharge


Describe why GHG's have increased since the Industrial Revolution

Decreased photosynthesis, increased respiration and increased fossil fuel consumption


How are developing countries affected by global carbon emissions?

Latin America only contribute 12.5% of global carbon emissions, but will most heavily be affected by global warming
-precipitation may decline by 20-40%
more heat waves, desertification= reduced food availability


What are the role of decomposers in the health of the soil?

Break down biomass so it can be stored as carbon in humus, improve the fertility of the soil, reduce limiting factors of plant growth by providing nutrients


How much short wave radiation is reflected and how much is absorbed?

31% reflected by clouds and land surfaces, 69% absorbed by oceans


What would the global average temperature be without the natural greenhouse effect?

(Global average temp is 15'C which is a life supporting temperature for a variety of flora and fauna)


How will climate change affect rainfall?

A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, wet regions get wetter, drier regions get drier,


What is the energy mix?

The proportion of each primary energy resource it uses per year


What factors does the energy mix depend on?

Availability, accessibility, energy needs, changing energy consumption patterns, national or regional policies, financial costs


What is energy security?

The uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price


Describe the UK's energy security

-Could face blackouts, energy per capita has increased, relies on North Sea oil
+Increase in renewable energy
+Aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030

=Although more renewable, Uk relies on imports making it energy insecure


Describe Swedens energy security

-Reliant on fossil fuels of transport
+Mainly relies on HEP (high energy value and high power output) providing most of the population with electricity
+Aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

=energy secure on the whole


What are the oceanic carbon pumps?

biological, carbonate and physical


describe the biological carbon pump

CO2 is requested into oceans by phytoplankton. Phytoplankton float on the surface of the ocean to photosynthesise, and pass carbon along the food chain to consumers which release the CO2 by respiration


describe the carbonate carbon pump

Calcium carbonate found in marine skeletons and shells sink to the sea floor either dissolving in the ocean or forming limestones sediments (e.g.. white cliffs of dover)


describe the physical carbon pump

Colder waters can absorb more CO2 so CO2 concentration is 10% higher in deep water than surface water. Warm waters release more CO2.

Large ocean currents (North Atlantic drift) moves water from the tropics to the poles, absorbing more CO2


How has human activity affected the carbon cycle?

Increasing demand for food and fuel
Oceanic acidification (role of carbon sink increasing)
Impact to soils (net decrease in carbon stored)
Combustion of fossil fuels
Foodchains and biomes disrupted (decline in coral reef health and marine ecosystems)


What is geological carbon release?

Degassing of volcanoes, carbon recycled at destructive plate margins when carbonate is dragged into mantle


How much CO2 does volcanic activity release?

300 million tonnes per year


What is the most degassing volcano in Europe?

Mount Etna (due to dolomite and limestone beneath)