A year in the life of Earth’s CO2

Concentrations of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere continue to increase. On Monday, NASA released a striking video that visualizes the invisible gas as it travels around the planet over one year.

The simulation shows plumes of carbon dioxide “swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources,” according to NASA. The video also shows differences in carbon dioxide levels in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, as well as the change in concentrations of carbon dioxide that come with changes in season due to the growth cycle of plants and trees.

Created with an ultra-high-resolution computer model, the visualization is called “Nature Run,” simulating May 2005 to June 2007.

The Nature Run ingests real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases and both natural and man-made particulates,” NASA wrote. “The model is then is left to run on its own and simulate the natural behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Computational analysis is fundamental to growing and understanding modern science. I admit it. I love it.

What a fascinating tool.

Thanks, Mike

3 thoughts on “A year in the life of Earth’s CO2

  1. Cassandra says:

    (11/20/14) “Permafrost soil: Possible source of abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last Ice Age” http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-11/awih-psp111914.php Scientists have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago. According to this new interpretation, the CO2 – released during the onset of the Bølling/Allerød warm period – presumably had their origin in thawing Arctic permafrost soil and amplified the initial warming through positive feedback.
    …Ice core data show that the CO2 concentration at that time increased by more than 10 ppm (parts per million, unit of measure for the composition of gases) within 200 years. {NOTE:} This CO2 increase, i.e. approx. 0.05 ppm per year, was significantly less than the current rise in atmospheric CO2 of 2-3 ppm in the last decade caused by fossil fuels. These data describe an abrupt change in the global carbon cycle during the transition from the last ice age to the present-day warm interglacial and allow conclusions to be drawn about similar processes that could play a role in the future.”

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