NASA Shows How Carbon Dioxide Moves Across The World


NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has released a stunning video of how carbon dioxide moves across the world. The high-resolution computer model was produced by a supercomputer in 75 days. It shows plumes of the greenhouse gas entering the atmosphere from industrial centers and traveling from continent to continent. Atmospheric CO2 is one of the biggest drivers of global warming.

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CO2 comes mainly from the Northern Hemisphere

The computer model created by NASA scientists depicts carbon emission between May 2005 and June 2007. It revealed that the carbon dioxide emissions come primarily from the Northern Hemisphere. Huge amounts of CO2 get absorbed seasonally by plants. As the simulation moves into summer, the red plumes of the invisible gas begin to fade because the carbon dioxide is absorbed by photosynthesizing plants. With the beginning of winter, carbon dioxide concentration increases in the atmosphere as vegetation dies.

In spring 2014, atmospheric CO2 exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in history, NASA said. Researchers have warned that carbon dioxide level above 450 parts per million will have “dangerous” consequences on climate. Before the Industrial Revolution, CO2 concentration was below 270 parts per million. But it has been increasing consistently, driven by the burning of fossil fuels.

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NASA’s OCO-2 to offer new insights

NASA scientists estimate that humans worldwide dump more than 36 billion tons of extra carbon dioxide every year by burning fossil fuels. In July this year, NASA launched a new satellite called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) to monitor carbon emissions. It will help scientists better understand what drives carbon dioxide concentrations.

The OCO-2 will also offer insights into carbon sinks such as oceans and forests that remove about 50% of all carbon emissions from the atmosphere. NASA’s computer model is part of Nature Run, a simulation that lets scientists understand how carbon dioxide builds up. It will also help scientists who want accurate climate predictions.

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  1. We went from 270 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere at the start of the Industrial Revolution to 400 ppm now. In less than 150 years, we saw a change that has historically taken hundreds of thousands of years. So when you say “what about the natural warming and cooling of earth history,” climate scientists would say that the massive deviation from that natural warming and cooling is the whole point.

    If a newborn baby grew into a six foot tall bearded man in two weeks, would you say “Babies have been growing into adults forever!”? Rate of change is the point. I repeat, rate of change.

  2. Lots of problems here. First, do we have previous models to compare? Why so much in the northern Hem? Why did you put the red portion first, and the blue portion second in your video? Why do you not advise that C02 is natural? Why do you not point out that the atmosphere naturally cleans by normal weather patterns? The tons of co2 is very natural. What about the natural warming and cooling of earth history? Can you explain that?

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