Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

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

A sea turtle rescued from Israel's devastating oil spill. MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP via Getty Images

Rescue workers in Israel are using a surprising cure to save the sea turtles harmed by a devastating oil spill: mayonnaise!

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A "digital twin of Earth." European Space Agency

As the weather grows more severe, and its damages more expensive and fatal, current weather predictions fall short in providing reliable information on Earth's rapidly changing systems.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice in places such as Greenland could stop a critical ocean current. Paul Souders / Getty Images

The climate crisis could push an important ocean current past a critical tipping point sooner than expected, new research suggests.

Read More Show Less
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Chevron oil field west of Bakersfield, where a spill of more than 900,000 gallons flowed into a dry creek bed, on July 24, 2019. Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

Accusing California regulators of "reckless disregard" for public "health and safety," the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday sued the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom for approving thousands of oil and gas drilling and fracking projects without the required environmental review.

Read More Show Less
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Kenyan professor Wangari Maathai poses during the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 15, 2009. Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty Images

By Kate Whiting

From Greta Thunberg to Sir David Attenborough, the headline-grabbing climate change activists and environmentalists of today are predominantly white. But like many areas of society, those whose voices are heard most often are not necessarily representative of the whole.

Read More Show Less