Carbon is a commonly found chemical element that is abundant in the universe. Some forms of carbon can be seen unlike other chemicals. For example, diamond is the hardest form of carbon, coal and graphite are other forms of carbon. Even though diamonds are found in a large scale, the Earth does not store a major part of its carbon in all these forms.
The presence of carbon has helped mankind to measure the age of things by a technique called ‘carbon dating’. Carbon dating involves using the decayed isotope of carbon for measuring the age of rocks on the surface of Earth.
Carbon acts as the building block for all the surviving life forms on Earth and is hence found majorly in the dead and living organic molecules. Several biomolecules present in our body consists of chains of carbon. DNA, bones, cell membranes etc. contain carbon.
Carbon dioxide is another form of carbon prevalent in the Earth’s atmosphere. Whenever the living organisms breathe, they emit carbon dioxide by taking in oxygen. Burning of fossil fuels also leads to emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
However, ocean consists of the largest amount of carbon found. More than 38,000 billions metric tons of carbon can be found in the ocean including the marine sediments and rocks. The sediments are a result of the body parts of the marine organisms that wither and die in the ocean after completing their life cycle.
The hard parts of the dead animals form the sedimentary rocks over the time. Thus, oceans have been the largest container of carbon present on Earth.
IMPLICATIONS OF INCREASE IN CARBON
Increase in the carbon content has led to global warming and rise in temperature. The change in Earth’s temperature bears dangerous outcomes where if the rate of carbon dioxide accelerates further, life would become unsustainable. Various attempts and actions are being taken to make sure that carbon dioxide can be contained and not released into the atmosphere.
A lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from the burning of fossil fuels and industrial emissions. It is vital to make sure that the emission of carbon dioxide is reduced to a minimum for avoiding the climatic change. One way of storing carbon dioxide is by pumping it into the exploited gas fields and old oils.
By planting more trees, the level of carbon dioxide can be reduced since plants take up carbon dioxide and give out oxygen during photosynthesis.