carbon cycle


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to carbon cycle: nitrogen cycle, water cycle, Oxygen cycle

car·bon di·ox·ide cy·cle

, carbon cycle
the circulation of carbon as CO2 from the expired air of animals and decaying organic matter to plant life where it is synthesized (through photosynthesis) to carbohydrate material, from which, as a result of catabolic processes in all life, it is again ultimately released to the atmosphere as CO2.

carbon cycle

n.
1. Physics See carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle.
2. Ecology The combined processes, including photosynthesis, decomposition, and respiration, by which carbon as a component of various compounds cycles between its major reservoirs—the atmosphere, oceans, and living organisms.

carbon cycle

the steps by which carbon in the form of carbon dioxide is extracted from and returned to the atmosphere by living organisms, especially human beings. The process starts with the photosynthetic production of carbohydrates by plants, progresses through the consumption of carbohydrates by animals and human beings, and ends with the exhalation of carbon dioxide by those same animals and human beings and with the release of carbon dioxide during the decomposition of dead plants and animals. Various chemical processes intervene between the ingestion of carbohydrates and the release of carbon dioxide. Carbohydrate metabolism starts with the movement of glucose through plasma membranes and subsequently involves glycolysis, the processes of the citric acid cycle, electron transport, and oxidative phosphorylation. See also citric acid cycle.

carbon cycle

A general term for the flux of CO2 from the point of fixation by photosynthesis to its release into the atmosphere by anthropogenic activities.

car·bon di·ox·ide cy·cle

, carbon cycle (kahr'bŏn dī-oks'īd sī'kĕl)
The circulation of carbon as CO2 from the expired air of animals and decaying organic matter to plant life where it is synthesized (through photosynthesis) to carbohydrate material, from which, as a result of catabolic processes in all life, it is again ultimately released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

carbon cycle

The important biological cycle in which carbon in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is taken up by plants, incorporated, by photosynthesis, into carbohydrates which are eaten by animals, and the carbon then oxidised and finally returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide waste gas.
Carbon cycleclick for a larger image
Fig. 90 Carbon cycle . The main steps.

carbon cycle

the circulation of carbon by the metabolic processes of living organisms in an ECOSYSTEM so that it always returns to an arbitrary starting point.
References in periodicals archive ?
We're too Earth-centric in our notion of how you can create a planetary carbon cycle," she says.
Long, 2013: Examining uncertainties in representations of the carbon cycle in Earth System Models.
2 shows the current carbon reservoirs that are part of this rapid carbon cycle.
The key to appreciating how the system works is to understand the carbon cycle.
These changes since 2000 characterize a carbon cycle generating stronger than expected, sooner than expected climate forcing.
All our graduating students seeking professional registration should be able to clearly explain the Earth's carbon cycle and the basic principles of the greenhouse effect.
Specifically, Dinneen challenges Sir Browne's comment that ethanol is "damaging to the carbon dioxide balance," stating that "the ethanol production process represents a carbon cycle, where plants absorb carbon dioxide during growth, 'recycling' the carbon released during fuel combustion.
Their research represents the culmination of a 15-year effort to measure and interpret the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle.
Global Carbon Cycle Integrating Humans, Climate, and the Natural World
Analysis of the genome data will enhance our understanding of lignocellulose degradation, a pivotal process in the global carbon cycle, and provide a framework for further development of bioprocesses for biomass utilization, organopollutant degradation and fiber bleaching.
If current warming trends in the Arctic continue, we can expect to see more of the old carbon now sequestered in northern soils enter the carbon cycle as carbon dioxide.
POSITIVELY IMPACTING THE ENVIRONMENT has as its objective significantly expanding the carbon cycle benefits of the forest products industry and significantly decreasing the industry's site and activity footprint.