Natural carbon cycle, illustration

Natural carbon cycle, illustration

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Natural carbon cycle. Diagram illustrating the natural processes that cycle carbon (white arrows) through different regions of the Earth. These reservoirs, forming the global carbon budget, are termed the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Sunlight is used by plants such as trees to incorporate atmospheric carbon dioxide into plant sugars and tissues during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is released during plant and animal respiration, and the decay of organis matter in the soil, and from volcanoes during eruptions. Some carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans, and is also removed from the atmosphere by rain.

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