What is Carbon Cycle?

Of all the elements known to man, carbon is one of the most important ones. Diamond, the most valuable gem is also a form of carbon. Graphite is a form of carbon that is used to make the lead in lead pencils. Coal, which is a main source of heat and power in the present age, is mostly carbon. The most important fact about carbon is that it is a necessary element for all living things. In fact, scientists believe that wherever carbon has been found in any quantity on the Earth, life in all probability existed there. Carbon is the most widely distributed non-metallic element and it is a common constituent of all organic compounds. Do you know, what is carbon cycle? Carbon cycle is the process of constant circulation of carbon between living organisms and the atmosphere. It maintains a balanced percentage of carbon dioxide in the air. The main source of carbon for all lives is the carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. This gas is taken from air and returned to it by all organisms. In this continuous cycle, the limited carbon dioxide in the air is being constantly re-used. Green plants take in carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere; combine it with water from the soil, to make more complex carbon compounds. Carbon dioxide is returned to the air by plants in two ways. Firstly, during night they give off carbon dioxide. Secondly, when they die and their remains decay and carbon dioxide is released into the air. Animals, including human beings, get some carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air. However, most of their carbon is obtained from plants, vegetables, fruits or cereals. All animals return carbon to the air by breathing out carbon dioxide during respiration. Like plants, they also give out carbon dioxide when they decay after death. Carbon dioxide is also released when animals or plants are burnt. When fossil fuels like coal, petroleum or natural gas are burnt, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Today, carbon cycle is in danger by the increased consumption and burning of fossil fuels and large tracts of tropical forests. As a result, carbon dioxide is building-up in the atmosphere breaking the equilibrium and contributing to a phenomenon known as the ‘global warming

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