Climate System

collapse Topic : Causes of Climate Change ‎(2)
Cyclical and Natural Changes
Human-Caused Changes
collapse Topic : Climate System ‎(12)
Atmospheric Circulation
Atmospheric Composition
Carbon Cycle
Climate Compared to Weather
Climate Feedbacks
Global Energy Balance
Greenhouse Effect
Ocean and Climate
Orbital Cycles
Regional Climates
Solar Radiation
Water Cycle
collapse Topic : Human Responses to Climate Change ‎(3)
Personal Responsibility
Risk Management
Social Values
collapse Topic : Impacts of Climate Change ‎(13)
Agricultural Changes
Economic Impacts
Ecosystem Changes
Extreme Weather
Freshwater Resources
Great Lakes Impacts
Melting Ice and Permafrost
Ocean Warming and Acidification
Plants and Animals
Public Health
Sea Level Rise
Surface Temperature Warming
collapse Topic : Measuring and Modeling Climate ‎(2)
Climate Modeling
Gathering and Measuring Climate Data

Carbon Cycle

Carbon is part of the oceans, air, rocks, soil, and all living things. It is constantly cycling through the ecosystem.

  • Carbon moves from the atmosphere to plants when plants take in carbon dioxide from photosynthesis.

  • Carbon moves from plants to animals through the food web. In this way, carbon can also move from animals to animals.

  • When plants and animals die, carbon moves into the ground through decomposition. Some of this now buried carbon will become fossil fuels in millions of years.

  • Carbon can move from living things back into the atmosphere through respiration.  

  • Oceans take up some of the carbon from the atmosphere.

  • When fossil fuels are burned, carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas. (

  • The abundance of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced through seafloor accumulation of marine sediments and accumulation of plant biomass and is increased through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels as well as through other processes.