Skip all navigation and jump to content Jump to site navigation Jump to section navigation.
NASA Logo - Goddard Space Flight Center + Visit NASA.gov
HOME PROJECTS RESOURCES SEARCH MAP

+ Advanced Search
Home
Home
View Most Recently Released Imagery
View Gallery of Imagery: A topical collection of SVS Imagery
Search Imagery by the keywords assigned to it
Search Imagery by the instruments that supplied data for a visualization product
Search Imagery by the series of visualizations that have been produced
Search Imagery by the scientist providing the data used in a visualization product
Search Imagery by the animator that created the product
Search Imagery by the identification number assigned to the visualization product
See other search options





  + RSS Feeds
  + Podcasts
blank image
Previous Animation Number   Next Animation Number
The Carbon Cycle

Carbon is the basic building block of life, and these unique atoms are found everywhere on Earth. Carbon makes up Earth's plants and animals, and is also stored in the ocean, the atmosphere, and the crust of the planet. A carbon atom could spend millions of years moving through Earth in a complex cycle. This conceptual animation provides an illustration of the various parts of the Carbon cycle. Purple arrows indicate the uptake of Carbon; yellow arrows indicate the release of Carbon.

On land, plants remove carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Animals eat plants and either breath out the carbon, or it moves up the food chain. When plants and animals die and decay, they transfer carbon back to the soil. Moving offshore, the ocean takes up carbon through physical and biological processes. At the ocean's surface, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves into the water. Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton use this carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Phytoplankton are the base of the marine food web. After animals eat the plants, they breathe out the carbon or pass it up the food chain. Sometimes phytoplankton die, decompose, and are recycled in the surface waters. Phytoplankton can also sink to the bottom of the ocean, where they become buried in marine sediment. Over long time scales, this process has made the ocean floor the largest reservoir of carbon on the planet. In a process called upwelling, currents bring cold water containing carbon up to the surface. As the water warms, the carbon is then be released as a gas back into the atmosphere, continuing the carbon cycle.

Carbon is found in the atmosphere as Carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket, and trap heat in the atmosphere. In the past two centuries, humans have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide by more than 30%, by burning fossil-fuels and cutting down forests.

Share: Share via E-mail E-mail   Share on TwitterTwitter

Carbon is the basic building block of life, and these unique atoms are found everywhere on Earth.  Carbon makes up Earth's plants and animals, and is also stored in the ocean, the atmosphere, and the crust of the planet.  A carbon atom could spend millions of years moving through Earth in a complex cycle.  This conceptual animation provides an illustration of the various parts of the Carbon cycle.  Purple arrows indicate the uptake of Carbon; yellow arrows indicate the release of Carbon.    Carbon is the basic building block of life, and these unique atoms are found everywhere on Earth. Carbon makes up Earth's plants and animals, and is also stored in the ocean, the atmosphere, and the crust of the planet. A carbon atom could spend millions of years moving through Earth in a complex cycle. This conceptual animation provides an illustration of the various parts of the Carbon cycle. Purple arrows indicate the uptake of Carbon; yellow arrows indicate the release of Carbon.


Duration: 53.0 seconds
Available formats:
  960x540 (30 fps) WEBM         9 MB
  1280x720 (30 fps) Frames
  320x176 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   6 MB
  320x236 (29.92 fps) WMV         3 MB
  640x360 (30 fps) MPEG-4   9 MB
  960x540 (30 fps) MPEG-4   21 MB
  1280x720 (30 fps) QT         20 MB
  1280x720 (30 fps) QT         471 MB
  320x180     PNG           213 KB
How to play our movies

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10494
Animation Number:10494
Completed:2009-10-06
Animator:Ivy Flores (IRC/UMBC) (Lead)
Producers:Maria Frostic (UMBC)
 Ryan Fitzgibbons (UMBC)
Scientists:Bruce Cook (NASA/GSFC)
 Gene Feldman (NASA/GSFC)
Series:Earth Science Week
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/UMBC
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Carbon
SVS >> Carbon Absorption
SVS >> Carbon Cycle
SVS >> Carbon Dioxide
SVS >> Carbon Land Cycle
SVS >> Carbon Monoxide
SVS >> Carbon Ocean Cycle
SVS >> Carbon Release
SVS >> Carbon Sink
SVS >> Earth Science
SVS >> HDTV
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Chemistry/Carbon and Hydrocarbon Compounds
 
 


Back to Top
Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

USA.gov logo - the U.S. Government's official Web portal. + Privacy Policy and Important Notices
+ Reproduction Guidelines
NASA NASA Official:
Content Contact:
Curator: