The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a 3D video on Friday that shows how the carbon dioxide behaves when it gets to the atmosphere.
Using satellite measurements, the agency managed to recreate the CO2 development when it is in the atmosphere. In about two minutes, any person can see how this gas moves around in the sky while immersing into the Northern Hemisphere.
All the data used for the video comes from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite owned by the NASA. This satellite has been orbiting the Earth since 2014 when it was launched with the mission of recording how the carbon dioxide behaves in the atmosphere. The information used for the video was taken from September of 2014 to September 2015. These recollections were then mixed with a high-quality weather model, produced by a supercomputer from NASA, to present to the public an unseen 3D video.
The using of OCO-2 images is also a new thing for NASA. This is the first time that measurements taken by the satellite are used to the creation of any project. Until the release of the video, the OCO-2 primary function was to measure CO-2 levels globally, ergo, maintain the NASA informed at all times.
This satellite that takes over 1 million measurements and produces 100,000 estimations on carbon dioxide per day works by capturing the sunlight that is reflected on the surface of the Earth. The scientific analysis of this data makes possible the estimation of the amount of carbon dioxide that is present in distinct areas.
“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,” said David Crisp, the science team leader for OCO-2
Why is all this research vital?
This OCO-2 data allows scientists a more accurate study regarding the CO-2 concentration on Earth. And this concentration accuracy is necessary when it comes to analyzing how the Earth is responding to climate change.
Over the last 200 hundred years, these levels in the atmosphere have elevated by 40 percent. This increase is caused by humans, mostly. The burning of fossil fuels is one of the principal reasons the CO-2 concentrations are at a high and worrying level.
Currently, the majority of the carbon dioxide produced by humans ends up in the ocean. The OCO-2 will also help measure how the Earth behave to all this massive contamination. This satellite also helps when it comes to measuring spectacular climate events like El Niño, a phenomenon that was present in the continent in mid-2015.
Crisp says that even climate change deniers have to admit that no matter the reason for it, the climate is being diverse and this could affect heavily the human life in the not so long future.
Source: National Geographic