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carbon cycle

The Carbon Cycle
Image: iStockphoto.com/jamievanbuskirk

The Carbon Cycle

Why isn’t the Earth a baking oven or frozen rock? In large part because carbon keeps moving in and out of plants, animals, the air, soil, oceans, and volcanoes.

This carbon cycle (actually 2 cycles, one short, one very long) acts as a thermostat. It keeps our planet’s average temperature stable. At least, it did until we humans began releasing billions of tons of extra carbon, year after year.

NASA
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The Carbon Cycle

The Carbon Cycle

Every year, the carbon belched out by burning fossil fuels weighs as much as 100 million adult African elephants! More...

Article
Windows to the Universe
The Carbon Cycle Game

The Carbon Cycle Game

Imagine you're a carbon atom, released into the atmosphere. Finding your way to all the places carbon is stored, and answering a few questions, is how you win this game. More...

Game
Windows to the Universe
Carbon Cycle: Carbon Sinks

Carbon Cycle: Carbon Sinks

Both land and ocean act as giant reservoirs — or sinks — of carbon dioxide. See how much they can hold and how they remove it from the atmosphere. More...

Video
Science Museum, London
Global Warming: It’s All About Carbon

Global Warming: It’s All About Carbon

What's so special about carbon? Find out with 5 fun cartoons. But make sure to watch them in order. Scroll down to find Episode 1. More...

Video
NPR
Observe an Animation Showing Evidence of the Carbon Cycle

Observe an Animation Showing Evidence of the Carbon Cycle

From space, you can watch the seasonal growth of plants over the entire planet. The plants, taking carbon from the atmosphere, form a major part of the global carbon cycle. More...

Interactive
McDougal Littell
Getting the Dirt on Carbon

Getting the Dirt on Carbon

Carbon is the key element for life on Earth...and vital for healthy soil. See how it cycles through plants and helps promote "the circle of life." More...

Article
Science News for Students
How Plants Run the Carbon Cycle

How Plants Run the Carbon Cycle

First came the geologic carbon cycle, then the biological carbon cycle. By taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, plants made the Earth’s surface suitable for animals. More...

Article
NYS Dept. of Conservation
Scrubbing the Skies

Scrubbing the Skies

In the carbon cycle, carbon is released and stored, again and again. We humans are releasing it. Could we also capture it and store it away? More...

Article
National Geographic
The Carbon Cycle Activity

The Carbon Cycle Activity

Help carbon on its way from the air through the food chain and back again. (But note: This video only shows part of the full carbon cycle.) More...

Interactive
BBC
The Hydrologic and Carbon Cycles: Always Recycle!

The Hydrologic and Carbon Cycles: Always Recycle!

To understand the carbon cycle, it helps to understand the water (or hydrologic) cycle. And to understand anything, it helps to have it explained by Hank Green. More...

Video
CrashCourse

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