Carbon cycle: Carbon sources

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Any process that releases carbon into the atmosphere is known as a carbon source. There are large carbon sources both in the oceans and on land. Examples include the outgassing of carbon dioxide from the oceans and the decomposition of dead organic matter on land. Natural carbon sources don’t change the total amount of carbon in the atmosphere, because over timescales of decades to centuries the amount of carbon added to the atmosphere by natural sources is balanced out by the amount absorbed from the atmosphere by natural sinks.