Wednesday, December 21, 2016

NASA's eye-poppin' global warming CO2 emissions

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

 The following video animation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center shows the accelerated life-cycle of global warming CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, during a year, from Sept. 1, 2014 to Aug. 31, 2015. 

The NASA Goddard Earth Observing System Model - 5 (GEOS-5)  simulation data was combined with live observations and measurements collected by the NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite, in a process called "data assimilation" to provide a better understanding of  carbon flux - that is, the sorts of exchanges occurring between CO2 emissions and the absorption taking place on land and in the oceans. The OCO-2 satellite returned about 100,000 CO2 estimates, daily from the Earth to inform the modeling process.

As you can see the red and purple-colored CO2 emissions are concentrated in the Northern hemisphere, and they change during the year as about 50% of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions are absorbed through photosynthesis during the summer and by ocean sinks. 

Scientists are seeking to answer such questions as which ecosystems sink CO2 emissions, and most importantly whether the rate of absorption on-land and in the ocean will remain constant, or eventually saturate, considering rates of increased CO2 emissions arising primarily from burning fossil fuels for energy. 


References
NASA - OCO-2 and GEOS team up to produce a new view of carbon dioxide
NASA - Eye-popping view of CO2, critical step for carbon-cyle science

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