A1.2.4.2 Human Impacts on the Carbon Cycle


Through burning fossil fuel and cutting down forests, there has been an increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. This is because these activities release carbon into the atmosphere quicker than it is naturally removed.

a1.2.4.1 carbon

The act of mining fossil fuels and then burning them dramatically increases the speed in which carbon is transferred from the ground into the atmosphere.

Deforestation also reduces the amount of photosynthesis that can occur. As photosynthesis removes Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere, when it does not occur, there is an increase in the amount of Carbon Dioxide. Carbon Dioxide is referred to as a greenhouse gas because it increases the atmospheres ability to retain heat.A1.2.4.1 deforestation

It is estimated that 20% of the total energy in the UK is used in transport. Each litre of petrol burnt produces 2.4kg of carbon dioxide, for every litre of diesel it is 2.7kg. A significant source of carbon dioxide is car exhaust emissions; therefore road transport has a significant effect on the carbon cycle.

A1.2.4.1 traffic

Other effects of an increase in Carbon Dioxide include the effect on plant life. Different plant species have a different tolerance level for Carbon Dioxide, therefore as the levels of Carbon Dioxide increase, some species will be able to cope and some will not. This will change the success and prevalence of plant species in different areas.