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Carbon Cycle

Importance Of The Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle is important in ecosystems because it moves carbon, a life-sustaining element, from the atmosphere and oceans into organisms and back again to the atmosphere and oceans. If the balance between these latter two reservoirs is upset, serious consequences, such as global warming and climate disruption, may result. Scientists are currently looking into ways in which humans can use other, non-carbon containing fuels for energy. Nuclear power, solar power, wind power, and water power are a few alternative energy sources that are being investigated.

See also Greenhouse effect.



Dunnette, David A., and Robert J. O'Brien, eds. The Science of Global Change: The Impact of Human Activities on the Environment. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society, 1992.

Hamblin, W.K., and E.H. Christiansen. Earth's Dynamic Systems. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Levi, Barbara Gross, David Hafemeister, and Richard Scribner. Global Warming: Physics and Facts. New York: American Institute of Physics, 1992.

Matthews, John A., E. M. Bridges, and Christopher J. Caseldine. The Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Environmental Change. New York: Edward Arnold, 2001.

Tolbert, N. E., and Jack Preiss, eds. Regulation of Atmospheric Carbon by Photosynthetic Carbon Metabolism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.


Hileman, Bette. "New CO2 Model Shows Whole Earth 'Breathing" ' Chemical and Engineering News 72 (January 10, 1994): 6.

Vitousek, Peter M. "Beyond Global Warming: Ecology and Global Change." Ecology 75 (October 1994): 1861.

Volk, Tyler. "The Soil's Breath." Natural History 103 (November 1994): 48.

Zimmer, Carl. "The War Between Plants and Animals." Discover 14 (July 1993): 16.

Kathleen Scogna

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Calcium Sulfate to Categorical imperativeCarbon Cycle - Cellular Respiration, The Burning Of Fossil Fuels, The Carbon Cycle In Land And Sea, Importance Of The Carbon Cycle - How carbon is released into the atmosphere, Volcanic eruption