NASA Computer models Carbon Dioxide through the atmosphere

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NASA Computer models Carbon Dioxide through the atmosphere

The new NASA supercomputer project builds on the agency’s satellite measurements of carbon dioxide and combines them with a sophisticated Earth system model to provide one of the most realistic views yet of how this critical greenhouse gas moves through the atmosphere.

Scientists have tracked the rising concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide for decades using ground-based sensors in a few places. A high-resolution visualization of the new combined data product – generated by the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, using data from the agency’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite build and operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California – provides an entirely different perspective.

The 3-D visualization reveals in startling detail the complex patterns in which carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, decreases and moves around the globe over the course of September 2014 to September 2015.


Carbon dioxide plays a significant role in trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere. The gas is released from human activities like burning fossil fuels, and the concentration of carbon dioxide moves and changes through the seasons. Using observations from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) satellite, scientists developed a model of the behavior of carbon in the atmosphere from Sept. 1, 2014, to Aug. 31, 2015. Scientists can use models like this one to better understand and predict where concentrations of carbon dioxide could be especially high or low, based on activity on the ground.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/K. Mersmann, M. Radcliff, producers Download this video in HD formats from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Carbon dioxide plays a significant role in trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere. The gas is released from human activities like burning fossil fuels, and the concentration of carbon dioxide moves and changes through the seasons. 

Using observations from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) satellite, scientists developed a model of the behavior of carbon in the atmosphere from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015. 

Scientists can use models like this one to better understand and predict where concentrations of carbon dioxide could be especially high or low, based on activity on the ground.

Source of Article NASA

By Richard Hayes

Director, Richard Hayes Digital - As a business, we are becoming concerned with our world's direction environmentally. It's time to use our voice, to speak out, and act for climate change action.