processes that release carbon into the atmosphere
processes that retain carbon and keep it from entering Earth’s atmosphere
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas in the atmosphere and is vital to life on Earth. Yet, too much carbon dioxide in the air can be harmful to the planet. What amount is just right? It depends on the balance between carbon sources and carbon sinks.
CARBON SOURCES (CO2)
burning fossil fuels
storing of carbon by plants on land
storing of carbon by plants in water
deep ocean sediment
decomposition of animal waste and dead animals and plants
formation of fossil fuels (such as peat, coal, and oil)
Too Much Carbon
If more gases that contain carbon are released than can be absorbed, there will be excess carbon gases in the atmosphere. That affects how energy from the sun is absorbed on Earth. When peat is burned, it changes from a carbon sink to a carbon source and global temperatures can increase. Then the climate may become warmer.
The Role of Wetlands
Wetlands, like bogs, cover only a small part of the planet. Yet, their carbon-capturing abilities make a big difference. Wetlands also strain leaves and animal waste from the water. These things hold carbon, too. They become buried in sediment, locking even more carbon away.