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Ocean Carbon Cycle

The Ocean Carbon Cycle is a fundamental component of Earth's climate system, involving the continuous exchange of carbon dioxide (CO₂) between the ocean and the atmosphere. This cycle plays a pivotal role in regulating global temperatures and maintaining the balance of carbon in the Earth's ecosystem. Through processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, dissolution, and sedimentation, the ocean acts as both a source and a sink of carbon, significantly influencing atmospheric CO₂ levels.

Phytoplankton, microscopic marine plants, are crucial in this cycle as they absorb CO₂ during photosynthesis, converting it into organic matter and releasing oxygen. When these organisms die, some of the carbon is transported to the deep ocean through the biological pump, where it can remain sequestered for centuries. This sequestration helps to mitigate the impact of human-induced carbon emissions.

In addition to biological processes, the Ocean Carbon Cycle is also driven by physical and chemical mechanisms. CO₂ from the atmosphere dissolves in the ocean's surface waters and can be transported to deeper layers by ocean currents, where chemical reactions can further influence its storage. This dynamic system is vital for understanding the complexities of climate change and developing strategies for carbon management and sustainability.