Science

How Does Carbon Dioxide Look In The Atmoshpere? NASA Releases 3D Video

By Christie Abagon , Dec 18, 2016 05:58 PM EST

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a video Friday about how carbon dioxide behaves when it gets to the atmosphere.  The result is actually very startling.

NASA Used A Supercomputer To See How CO2 Combines With The Atmosphere

For many decades now, scientists have been tracking the increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere using ground-based sensors.  But now, an astounding view is provided by a new NASA supercomputer project using the space agency's satellite measurements of that gas and combining them with a sophisticated Earth system model. The satellite, Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), has been orbitting the Earth since 2014.

Carbon dioxide is rapidly warming up our planet.  They come from high quantities by the burning of fossil fuels for energy, and experts say that 50 percent of man-made emissions stay in the atmosphere, roughly 25 percent is absorbed by the ocean, and the rest is absorbed by land vegetation.  Scientists are still trying to figure out is things like which ecosystems absorb what amount of CO2.

NASA's 3D Visualization Can Help Scientists Answer Climate Questions

NASA's 3D visualization video is very helpful to scientists in answering questions about the climate.  Lesley Ott, a carbon cycle scientist at NASA Goddard, said: "We are trying to build the tools needed to provide an accurate picture of what's happening in the atmosphere and translating that to an accurate picture of what's going on with the flux."

The result of this research shows NASA's capabilities in observing and modelling our planet.  David Crisp, the science team leader for OCO-2, said: "There are 150 or so stations at the surface of the earth that have been collecting incredibly precise measurements. But the world is a really big place, and there's very interesting circulation patterns. It's like trying to predict the weather across the earth with only 150 weather stations."

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