Human activity impacts the carbon cycle by introducing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere: carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, changes temperatures and alters the salinity levels of oceans, disturbing the salt and water balance equilibrium that supports proper growth of marine plants and animals. Some carbon dioxide generation occurs naturally, although human actions, such as burning fossil fuels and operating factories, accelerate its creation and escape into Earth's natural environments. This translates to warmer air temperatures and higher acidity levels in water bodies.Continue Reading
Carbon dioxide forms part of the Earth's atmosphere, along with other gases such as methane and oxygen. These gases operate in a delicate balance, working harmoniously to regulate temperature, water storage and precipitation. The influx of excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the air disturbs this balance. Carbon dioxide molecules function as temperature regulators. With less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, temperatures on Earth fall.
More carbon dioxide, however, brings warmer temperatures. This triggers accumulation of water vapor and additional precipitation. In oceans, rising carbon dioxide levels increase ocean temperatures. Warmer temperatures reduce nutrient quantity and diversity, jeopardizing plankton and other marine life. Higher temperatures also weaken shells of crustaceans and creatures with shells, increasing their vulnerability. On land, more carbon dioxide facilitates the growth of some plants, while impairing growth for others.Learn more about Human Impact
The carbon dioxide and oxygen cycles work through processes that convert carbon in the atmosphere into oxygen and transform oxygen back into carbon dioxide. Plants are the main producers of oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. They use carbon dioxide and sunlight to produce energy and release oxygen into the atmosphere.Full Answer >
The main sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are decaying plants, waste products as a result of the respiration of animals and volcanic eruptions. Human activity also releases carbon dioxide into the air. The main source of this carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels.Full Answer >
The primary cause of global warming is the collection of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and other pollutants trap heat from the sun, making the planet warmer.Full Answer >
Global warming is caused by an abundance of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. The higher levels of carbon dioxide act the same as a blanket, keeping heat in and essentially warming up the temperature of the Earth. Carbon dioxide survives in the atmosphere for a long period of time.Full Answer >