Importance of Natural Resources

NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2


Hi, this is Bill Putman. I’m a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. What you’re looking at is a supercomputer model of carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. The visualization compresses one year of data into a few minutes. Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas affected by human activity. About half of the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel combustion remains in the atmosphere, while the other half is absorbed by natural land and ocean reservoirs. In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the highest concentrations are focused around major emission sources over North America, Europe and Asia. Notice how the gas doesn’t stay in one place. The dispersion of carbon dioxide is controlled by the large-scale weather patterns within the global circulation. During spring and summer in the Northern Hemisphere, plants absorb a substantial amount of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, thus removing some of the gas from the atmosphere. We see this change in the model as the red and purple colors start to fade. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, we see the release of another pollutant—carbon monoxide. This is a gas that’s both harmful to the environment and to humans. During the summer months, plumes of carbon monoxide stream from fires in Africa, South America and Australia, contributing to high concentrations in the atmosphere. Notice how these emissions are also transported by winds to other parts of the world. As summer transitions to fall, and plant photosynthesis decreases, carbon dioxide begins to accumulate in the atmosphere. Although this change is expected, we’re seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere each year. This is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2, will be the first NASA satellite mission to provide a global view of carbon dioxide. OCO-2 observations and atmospheric models like GEOS-5 will work closely together to better understand both human emissions and natural fluxes of carbon dioxide. This will help guide climate models toward more reliable predictions of future conditions across the globe.


Reader Comments

  1. 26 of the richest people on earth have 50% of all money
    These kind of people meet at the bilderberg meeting discussing how they should run the economy and control society

    The human mind can only associate with around 150 different individuals before relations starts to get confusing, it's called dunbars number

    We should strive for making a society where 50% of all money can never end up in a group of individuals smaller than dunbars number! So the richests doesn't have a chance to control the world so easily

    If it was over 200 of the richest people that had 50% of all the money in the world, that would give much more power to the rest of humanity

    But thats not how things are going… The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer

    The great filter is here, and it's called narcissism.

    We must spread more awareness about this!
    Pls share this message if you want power to the people!

  2. Co2 in the atmosphere is less then 0.04 % and man makes 4% of it and if we half are output which is near impossible it wouldn't make a difference.

  3. wel whot your input to NASA now admiting that the Grand Solar Minium is real and it may alredy be afecting earth
    , now dont class me as a climate denier or any thing else

  4. Very poor colour key. People are used to red being "the worst", with the "traffic light" system of yellow, orange then red in that order. So colours should be reworked.

  5. Nasa is the direct Cause of more polution than any other corporations.
    Manufacturing of craft and components along with trillions of tonnes of fuel burning.
    Fold up nasa and use their funding to save the world.

  6. This got me thinking a lot about trees. Just look at how clean the Southern hem is. This has a lot to do with the equatorial forests in Africa and the Amazon. I think what Northern territories should do is actually plant a lot of trees in the Sahara desert. It is both near the equator and could do the same thing Amazon is doing in the South. There is tech to plant trees and lush out the desert that can be used to do this quite easily.

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