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Simplified Representation of the Global Carbon Cycle

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Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have been increasing for about 2 centuries, mostly as a result of human (anthropogenic) activities, and now are higher than they have been for over 400,000 years. About 6 billion tons of carbon are released into the air by human activity each year, three-quarters from the burning of fossil fuels and the rest from deforestation and other changes in land use, with a small amount from cement production. Although the effects of increased levels of CO2 on global climate are uncertain, many agree that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, predicted for the middle of this century by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, could have a variety of serious environmental consequences. The United States is committed to understanding the factors that influence climate change, reducing uncertainties in assessments of climate change, and developing strategies to mitigate change. Microbes in the earth’s oceans and soils play a major role in the cycling of carbon and other elements. The Genomics:GTL research program seeks to understand this role to enable prediction of the impacts of climate change on microbes and their responses to the resulting ecosystem shifts. This knowledge also will provide the basis for developing and assessing strategies for ocean- and soil-based carbon sequestration. Citation : Genomics:GTL Roadmap, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, August 2005,

Credit or Source: Adapted from Carbon Sequestration Research and Development (1999),Genome Management Information System, Oak Ridge National Laboratory "Genomics:GTL Roadmap," U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, August 2005,


US DOE. 2005. Genomics:GTL Roadmap, DOE/SC-0090, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. (p. 34) (website)

Prepared by the Biological and Environmental Research Information System, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and