NASA visualisation of a year in life of carbon dioxide

In July 2014 NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite to make global, space-based carbon observations. In this supercomputer model, NASA shows one year of data on the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere compressed into a 3-minute video. The patterns of concentrations are impacted by large-scale weather patterns and the levels of photosynthesis depending on the time of the year.

In this fascinating visualisation, which is the first such precise  and ultra-high resolution simulation, it becomes very clear that carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas affected by human activity, has the highest concentration in North America, Europe and Asia, the largest emission sources. Half of the fossil fuel combustion emissions stay in the atmosphere, trap extra heat and warm up the planet.

Overall, the carbon dioxide concentrations have risen from 270 parts per million (ppm) before the Industrial Revolution to overĀ 400 ppm in Spring 2014, mainly because of burning fossil fuels.

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