17 terms

The major stores of carbon

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Atmospheric H2O
Water held in the air as gas, clouds, precipitation
Hydrosphere
Discontinuous layer of water at or near the earth's surface. Includes all liquid and frozen surface water, groundwater, atmospheric water vapour
Lithosphere
Solid outer section of Earth, including Earth's crust as well as the underlying cool dense and rigid upper part of mantle
Cryosphere
Frozen water in the Earth's system. Included frozen parts of ocean, glaciers, and ice sheets
Biosphere
the regions of the surface and atmosphere of the earth or another planet occupied by living organisms. Important store of carbon
GtC
Gigatonne of Carbon Dioxide equivalent, unit used by United Nations climate change panel to measure amounts of carbon in various stores.
1 GtC
amounts to 10^9 tonnes of carbon(1 billion tonnes)
Transfer (flux) of carbon
is measured in Gigatonnes of carbon per year (GtC/year)
Inorganic carbon deposits lithosphere
include fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, shale oil and carbonate based sedimentary rocks like limestone
Organic forms of carbon in lithosphere
include leaf litter, organic matter and humic substances found in the soils
Marine sediments and sedimentary rocks
contain up to 100million GtC
Soil organic matter
contains between 1,500 and 1,600GtC
Ocean surface layer (euphotic zone)
where sunlight penetrates so photosynthesis can take place - approx 900GtC
Ocean intermediate zone (twilight zone)
contains approx 37,100GtC of carbon
Ocean living organic matter
fish, plankton, bacteria etc. have 30GtC and dissolved organic matter 700GtC
Natural carbon sequestration in the oceans
because when organisms dies their dead cells, shells and other parts sink to the deep water. Some is released by decay into the deep water but much accumulates as carbon rich sediments
Biosphere stores of carbon
vary massively by ecosystem type, forests have the biggest stores