Carbon Dioxide and Methane

The Carbon Cycle

Hey there! I’m sure you’ve heard about the water cycle before. But did you know there’s the carbon cycle as well? Before we move on to the Carbon cycle, let me talk about carbon as an element first.

Some carbon can be found as a free element in the Earth’s crust. It exists in two forms: graphite and diamonds. So graphite and carbon are allotropes (different forms of the same element).

However, there are thousands of carbon compounds in nature. They can be found in living things, in the soil, in the oceans and in the atmosphere.

Carbon moves between compounds in the atmosphere, living things, the soil and the ocean in a continuous journey. This journey is called the Carbon Cycle. So basically, the Carbon Cycle is the circulation and transformation of carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) back and forth between living things and the environment!

Here’s an illustration of it for better understanding! 😊

Image result for carbon cycle

Soooo now let’s talk about how…

1. CO2 is added to the atmosphere:

By respiration

  • Animals and plants (in the absence of sunlight) produce CO2 as a product after the uptake of oxygen and glucose.
  • C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O
  • glucose + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water + energy

 

By combustion of fuels

  • CO2 is released upon the burning of methane and natural gas
  • CH4(g)   +  2O2(g)   arrow       CO2(g)    +    2H2O(l)methane + oxygen → carbon dioxide + energy

 

2. CO2 is removed from the atmosphere

  • By photosynthesis

Plants use CO2 to photosynthesise and synthesis their own food.

*this includes plants in the ocean such as phytoplankton which get eaten by fish and other animals. So carbon is passed along food chains in the ocean.

6CO2 + 6H2Reaction (light energy) C6H12O6 + 6O2

Carbon dioxide + water  → glucose + oxygen

  • By dissolving

CO2 in the air dissolves in the ocean and provides carbonates ions, needed to build the shells (made of calcium carbonate) of shellfish as well as the skeletons of fish.

 

Okay, some of you might still be confused…or might even think, how am i gonna remember all this?!

Well, don’t worry yall. WE INTRODUCE TO YOU… THE CARBON CYCLE SONG!!

JAM TO THIS EVERY DAY AND YOU’LL GET A* FOR ANY CARBON CYCLE EXAM! 😉😎

 


 

FACT FILE #1: CARBON DIOXIDE

Other than knowing carbon dioxide is a gas we breathe out, do you know anything else about it?

Image result for CARBON DIOXIDE

Well, let me enlighten you! 😁

First of, what is carbon dioxide? Simply put, it’s a colorless, odorless greenhouse gas which consists of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms chemically bonded to each other! Therefore, its chemical formula is CO2.

Image result for CARBON DIOXIDE

Now, to distinguish carbon dioxide from other gases, you must first know its properties. Carbon Dioxide has a number of properties. These properties are:

  • being colorless and odorless
  • it’s a linear covalent molecule
  • it is much heavier in air
  • it doesn’t support combustion (so things won’t burn in it, things will only burn when oxygen is present!)it is slightly soluble in water, forming carbonic acid H2CO3 (one of the acids in acid rain which will corrode buildings) NOTE: CO2 is also soluble in ethanol and acetone
  • Carbon dioxide is an acidic oxide and reacts with water to give carbonic acid.
    CO2 + H2O ⇌ H2CO3

     

  • Carbon dioxide reacts with alkalis to give carbonates and bicarbonates.Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 3.39.08 pm
    •                       (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 3.42.48 pm
    •                                          (sodium carbonate)

How is Carbon Dioxide formed?

There are a number ways carbon dioxide can be produced. It occurs naturally in the air as a product of:

1.Complete combustion of carbon containing substances

  • Eg. methane burning in air

methane + oxygen —> carbon dioxide + water

CH4(g) + 2O2(g) —> CO2(g) + 2H2O (l)

 

2.Respiration in cells

glucose + oxygen —> carbon dioxide + water

C6H12O6(aq) + 6O2 (g) —> 6CO2 (g) + 6H2O (l)

3.Reactions between dilute acid and carbonates

calcium carbonate + hydrochloric acid —> carbon dioxide + water

CaCO3(s) + 2HCl (aq) —> CaCl2 (aq) + CO2 (g) + H2O (l)

4.Thermal decomposition of a carbonate

calcium carbonate —> calcium oxide + carbon dioxide

CaCO3(s) —> CaO (s) + CO2 (g)  

 

Simple, right? Now, let’s move on to fact file #2: Methane! 😀

 

 

Sources:

 


FACT FILE #2: METHANE

Methane and Carbon Dioxide are very similar because they are both colorless, odorless, greenhouse gases!

HOLD UP. It’s my bad for not mentioning this earlier…oops😶 

What does it mean when both Methane and Carbon Dioxide are greenhouse gases? Well, it means that they are both responsible for causing the greenhouse effect by absorbing solar radiation. In other words, we will feel like we are living in an oven if too much of these gases are in the atmosphere!*

First things first though…

 

What is Methane? 

Just like Carbon Dioxide, it is also a colorless, odorless gas. The only difference is that Methane is also a flammable gas. This compound consists of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms -CH4

.

Image result for methane

And what are it’s properties?

  • it is an organic compound
  • it is colorless and odorless
  • it is easily ignited (very flammable gas!)
  • its vapors are lighter than air

But how is Methane formed?

Okay, I need full concentration for this. Ready? Good.

Methane can be found in 3 different places:

  • Firstly, Methane is found in gas deposits in the ocean floor and on land, as natural gas.

Image result for methane deposits

  • Secondly, Methane is produced when bacteria breaks down plant material in the absence of oxygen (e.g. in paddy fields, swamps and landfill sites)

Image result for paddy fields methane

  • Lastly, some animals like cattle, sheep, goats and camels give out methane as waste gas from digestion.

Image result for cow farting methane

If you noticed, all of the above are natural occurring processes. So…what about the man-made processes? Well, we’re gonna be discussing that now!


 MAJOR SOURCES OF…

 

  1. CARBON DIOXIDE(CO2)

    Natural

  • CO2 is naturally present in the atmosphere as part of the Earth’s carbon cycle (the natural circulation of carbon among the atmosphere, oceans, soil, plants, and animals).

Carbon_Cycle-animated_forest

  • Respiration of living things

mzDY5

Man-made (responsible for the increase of COsince the industrial revolution)

  • the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation, although certain industrial processes and land-use changes also emit CO2.

Image result for combustion of fossil fuels

  • Deforestation, this influences the ability of natural sinks, like forests, to remove CO2from the atmosphere

 Image result for deforestation

 2. METHANE(CH4)

Natural

  • Decomposition of vegetation (e.g wetlands, rice paddies)
  • Waste gases from digestion of animals

Man-made

  • Coal mines
  • Waste from homes and businesses (landfill sites)
  • Agricultural activities (due to the increasing number of bred livestock, more cows are releasing methane into the atmosphere)
  • Industry (use of natural gas and petroleum)

Image result for natural gas   Image result for cows farting

Image result for landfills   Image result for coal mines


Okay, now lets talk about the negative impacts these two gases have on the earth.

Despite their usefulness in our everyday life activities, we must not forget that carbon dioxide and methane are both greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming…*

*<refer to the topic “air” for more information>

Okay, I’m gonna start bombarding you with some alarming facts about this matter, so get ready…

  • 72% OF THE TOTALLY EMITTED GREENHOUSE GASES IS CARBON DIOXIDE (C02) AND 18% IS METHANE!
  • EMISSIONS OF CO2 HAVE BEEN DRAMATICALLY INCREASING WITHIN THE LAST 50 YEARS AND ARE STILL INCREASING BY 3% EACH YEAR! AND A LARGE PART OF IT IS BECAUSE OF THE NAUGHTY HUMANS!! 

THINK ABOUT ALL THE POLAR BEARS IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE LOSING THEIR HOMES BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING! 😦 😭

*THEYRE SO CUTE, JUST LOOK AT THEM*

Image result for POLAR BEARS CUTE       Image result for POLAR BEARS CUTE

 

But how do Methane and Carbon Dioxide make the earth warmer? I mean, they’re just gases right?

NOT RIGHT. Let me clear things up. 

Okay, so the temperature of the Earth depends on a balance between incoming energy from the Sun and the energy that bounces back into space. Greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and methane forms a layer around Earth which absorbs heat that would otherwise be lost to space. Some of this energy is re-emitted back to Earth, causing additional heating of the planet.

By the way, this is called the greenhouse effect!

greenhouse_effect

You might think, what’s so bad about more heat energy? I can get a better sun tan right😎

Image result for sun tan funny pics cartoon

BUT DID U KNOW? Excess carbon dioxide lets stronger sun rays penetrate the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise.

So the more CO2 and CH4 there is, the thicker the layer will be, causing our planet to be hotter. And the hotter it is, the more the climate changes. Das nasty because bad things like flooding, tsunamis and rising sea levels will happen causing animals and people to die and das not good at all.

Image result for impact of global warming paintings

OK! So now we know the major sources of carbon dioxide and methane and how they can heat up the earth. If we all try to avoid carrying out activities that would produce these gasses unnecessarily , such as smoking (which you all shouldn’t be doing at this age…AHEM) and burning rubbish, we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the air! AND THE POLAR BEARS IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOSING THEIR HOUSES!! 😀

PLEASE, LET’S JUST SAVE THESE CUTE AND LOVING CREATURES THAT DIDNT DO US ANY HARM OK

*inserts more cute pictures to make yall feel guilty*

Baby-polar-bear   Image result for POLAR BEARS CUTE

Heh, sorry our team just really loves animals 😋 

 

And we’re done! 

Image result for dog dancing

 

Sources:

 

 

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