Red alert — the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing year-by-year due to human activity. It’s leading to a warming Earth, but just how quickly — and how badly it will change the environment around us — is hard to say.
NASA released a new video showing how carbon dioxide — a product mainly of fossil fuels — shifts during a typical year. Billed as the most accurate model to date, the emissions shown in 2006 (tracked by ground-based sources) show how wind currents across the globe spread the gas across the globe. The red you see up there indicates high concentrations. The full video is below the jump.
In spring and summer, plants absorb carbon dioxide and the amount in the atmosphere above that hemisphere decreases. In fall and winter, carbon dioxide is not absorbed as well since the plants are dead or dormant. Also seen in the video is carbon monoxide that spreads out from forest fires, particularly in the southern hemisphere.
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“Despite carbon dioxide’s significance, much remains unknown about the pathways it takes from emission source to the atmosphere or carbon reservoirs such as oceans and forests,” NASA stated.
“Combined with satellite observations such as those from NASA’s recently launched OCO-2 [Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2], computer models will help scientists better understand the processes that drive carbon dioxide concentrations.”
The model is called GEOS-5 and was made by scientists at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s global modeling and assimilation office.