Carbon Cycle


The Natural Carbon Balance


1. What are the 4 main parts (or “spheres”) that make up the carbon cycle?


a. Hydrosphere

b. Biosphere

c. Atmosphere

d. Lithosphere


2. Use the arrows connecting the different spheres of the carbon cycle to identify 4 of the natural processes that are involved in converting carbon from one form to another to restore balance to the carbon cycle.


a. Ocean Release

b. Sedimentation

c. Photosythisis

d. Volcanic release and weathering


3. What is the main human impact on the natural carbon cycle?


Fossil Fuel Burning


4. If CO2 can be absorbed by ocean uptake and photosynthesis, then why should we worry if we keep producing more CO2?

We should worry if we keep producing more CO2 because photosynthesis and ocean uptake can only absorb a certain amount of CO2 and at certain speed. Therefore if we create too much, these methods of recycling won’t be able to handle it.

Causes of Change


5. What are 6 major natural causes of climate change? Each team member should be able to describe at least one of the natural causes in depth.


a. CO2 and Other Greenhouse gas variations

b. Human Activity and Greenhouse gas

c. Reducing other greenhouse gases

d. Ocean circulation

e. Volcanic Eruptions

f. Solar Variations

g. Orbital Variations

h. Land use changes


6. Define what an “amplifier” is and give an example of an amplifier that affects climate change.


Definition: An amplifier increases or reduces the effects of a cause.


Example: Aerosols, Clouds, Water Vapor, Ice-Reflectivity.

Reducing Other Greenhouse Gases


7. What are the three leading sources of human-produced greenhouse gases?


a. Industry

b. Transportation

c. Residential


8. Examine the exhibit with Bessy the Cow.


a. What greenhouse gas is Bessy most responsible for producing?

The greenhouse gas Bessy is most responsible for producing is Methane.




b. Describe one way to reduce the concentration of this other greenhouse gas.

The options to reduce the concentration of this gas include reducing beef and dairy consumption.