The Carbon Cycle

This is an animated Carbon Cycle. You should be able to memorize the diagram for your GCSE exams. Since the animation will still run offline, keep this page open when you hang-up and use the animation to help yourself commit the diagram to memory.
Plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere for photosynthesis, but respiration and burning put carbon dioxide back. So does the decay of dead organic matter.

During the carboniferous period (over 300 million years ago) large amounts of carbon accumulated as coal, peat, oils and natural gas. These are fossil fuels. It took millions of years to make these fuels, but we are burning them all up in a few hundred years. When do you think it will all run out?

During the carboniferous period, the “fossil fuel” box was getting bigger and bigger. The other boxes were getting smaller. At present the “fossil fuel” box is getting smaller; we are burning it all. At the same time the “atmosphere” box is getting bigger; i.e. carbon dioxide is being added to the atmosphere. This gas contributes to the “green house effect” and therefore to the problem of “global warming”.

Some people believe that green plants will be able to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and prevent our planet from overheating. What do you think?

Use the animation below by moving your mouse over the words on the right of the animation, starting with “Photosynthesis”.