Quantcast

Stunning NASA Video Illustrates a Year's Worth of Global Carbon Emissions

Climate

Here is your tax money doing something really cool.

While most of us—and virtually all climate scientistswon't deny that the carbon emissions driving climate change are real, they're still abstract. But NASA scientists have created a video model that makes them concrete and visual. "A Year in the Life of Earth's CO2" tracks the growth and dispersal of carbon in the atmosphere, compressing a year's worth data into a three-minute video. It's based on a supercomputer model of carbon dioxide levels in the Earth's atmosphere over that period of time.

The view, narrated by NASA climate scientist Bill Putnam, shows the journey of carbon into the atmosphere and its dispersal over the globe unfolds before your eyes, as emissions increase during the fall and winter, then shrink in the spring and summer as new plant growth begins to absorb the carbon. You can see the concentrations of carbon appearing over the biggest emitters: the U.S., Europe and China. And you can watch as emissions spread across the globe from their original source. It even shows carbon monoxide swirling oceans from summer forest fires in Africa and South America.

"As summer transitions to fall and plant photosynthesis decreases, carbon dioxide begins to accumulate in the atmosphere," Putnam explains. "Although this change is expected, we're seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere every year. This is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

U.S. Carbon Emissions Rise Despite Efforts to Combat Climate Change

Why Climate Scientists Receive Death Threats

World Meteorological Organization: Ocean Acidification and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hit Record Levels

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for optimal health.

Read More
Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More
Sponsored
Pexels

By Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD

In recent years, functional foods have gained popularity within health and wellness circles.

Read More
Despite fierce opposition from local homeowners, a section of the SUNOCO Mariner II East Pipeline cuts through a residential neighborhood of Exton, PA. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

To celebrate the 50th birthday of one of America's most important environmental laws, President Trump has decided to make a mockery out of it.

Read More
With well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage. An economist from the University of Michigan Energy Institute says that is likely to change. Maskot / Getty Images

In 2018, there were about 5 million electric cars on the road globally. It sounds like a large number, but with well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage.

Read More