Oceans and the atmosphere

In order for all of Earth's cycles to work together, they must exist in a state of dynamic equilibrium. This means that as substances move and change at different times and places, they must do it in a way that does not have a negative effect on the entire working system—all the components must work together and complement each other.

This dynamic equilibrium changes as the seasons change, because different needs must be met at different times. In the spring and summer when plants grow, they need carbon so they take it from the atmosphere and the soil. Then, when the growing season is over in the fall and winter, plants release carbon back to the soil and atmosphere. This is significant especially in the Northern Hemisphere because most of the landmasses are located there, creating a global seasonal change of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The oceans and atmosphere also interact extensively. Oceans are more than a moisture source for the atmosphere. They also act as a heat source and a heat sink (storage), as well as a carbon sink.

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