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How the Carbon Cycle works

How the Carbon Cycle works

The carbon cycle demonstrates how carbon is utilized over and over again in the environment. Carbon goes in from the atmosphere to the biological forms and then comes back to the atmosphere. From minerals to the environment, carbons are found everywhere with constant movement.

Here we have discussed how the different phases of the carbon cycle occur and how it brings an impact to the biosphere. You can learn more about the topic from our private tutors.

What is the Carbon cycle?


Whether for the usage of food intake or for the purpose of respiration, carbon is a highly important element for living beings. Constantly there is some movement of carbon going on either from the environment to the living being or from the living beings to the environment. There are many natural processes like photosynthesis or breathing that use carbon as the main product, helping in the process of the carbon cycle.

Let’s talk about some of the main steps that are involved in the functioning of the carbon cycle.

Steps involved in carbon cycle

The carbon cycle involves several steps through which it uses carbon in different processes. Here we have discussed the different steps involved in the carbon cycle and how they impact each other.

  • The first step involves the movement of carbon from the atmosphere to the plant for the process of photosynthesis. When the carbon is present in the atmosphere, it is attached to oxygen, and in this way, it turns into a gaseous state that is carbon dioxide. The carbon detaches from this state and is utilized by the plants for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process through which plants make their food for survival. Without no carbon, there will be no photosynthesis, and hence there will be no food for the plants to survive.
  • According to the food chain, plants are consumed by animals. In this way, the carbon that has been utilized by the plants has now been transferred to the animals who ate the plants. The animals who will be eating these animals will also indirectly get the carbon that was derived from the plants.
  • The next step involved the movement of the carbon from the bodies of animals and plants to the soil. This happens when animals and plants die. The carbon that had been consumed by them is then transferred into the soil once their body decays. After being buried, the bodies eventually turn into fossil fuels.
  • In this way, the carbon is then transferred from the living beings back to the atmosphere that it was taken from. When plants and animals breathe, we exhale carbon dioxide in order to get rid of it. In this way, carbon comes to the environment too.
  • The bodies that are converted into fossil fuels also become a source of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. When we burn fossil fuels, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This burning of fossil fuels creates a huge amount of carbon dioxide because a lot of fossil fuels are burnt for many different purposes. The carbon dioxide produced as a result of it either remains in the atmosphere or goes in the seawater.
  • The carbon is then transferred to the water in the form of movement to the oceans. Over there, the carbon gets dissolved in the water present in the ocean.

Carbon coming in the atmosphere

From the bodies in the soil

Carbon comes back into the atmosphere by either the processes involving the burning of fossil fuels or it comes through respiration. When we bury the dead bodies of animals and plants in the soil, the body is left there for many years. The bodies are referred to as the producers in the food chain, which are then eaten away by the consumers, also referred to as the decomposers. When the decomposers eat the bodies of the animals and plants in the soil, they then return the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.


From the water

The carbon produced by the water is also referred to as the oceanic cycle. The water takes in the carbon that is left as a remnant in the atmosphere and uses it to create calcium carbonate by the working of the animals present in the water. This product is then utilized to make up the hard shells present on the bodies of sea animals like oysters and clams. When these sea animals die, the hard shells then go to the surface of the ocean. Laying there, these hard shells experience pressure from their surroundings which turn them into limestone.

When this limestone is exposed to the air, the carbon from it is released into the air. In this way, carbon from the water comes into the atmosphere.


How is Carbon cycle important for the natural balance ?