The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis
A Global Perspective of Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations.
Authors: William Putman (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center), Lesley Ott (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center), Anton Darmenov (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center), Arlindo daSilva (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center)
Abstract: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important greenhouse gas affected by human activity. About half of the CO2 emitted from fossil fuel combustion remains in the atmosphere, contributing to rising temperatures, while the other half is absorbed by natural land and ocean carbon reservoirs. Despite the importance of CO2, many questions remain regarding the processes that control these fluxes and how they may change in response to a changing climate. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), launched on July 2, 2014, is NASA's first satellite mission designed to provide the global view of atmospheric CO2 needed to better understand both human emissions and natural fluxes.
This visualization shows how column CO2 mixing ratio, the quantity observed by OCO-2, varies throughout the year. By observing spatial and temporal gradients in CO2 like those shown, OCO-2 data will improve our understanding of carbon flux estimates. But, CO2 observations can't do that alone. This visualization also shows that column CO2 mixing ratios are strongly affected by large-scale weather systems.
A high-resolution (7-km) non-hydrostatic global mesoscale simulation using the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS-5) model produces the CO2 concentrations and weather systems in this visualization. This 7-km GEOS-5 Nature Run product will provide synthetic observations for missions like OCO-2. In order to fully understand carbon flux processes, OCO-2 observations and atmospheric models will work closely together to determine when and where observed CO2 came from. Together, the combination of high-resolution observations and model simulations will guide climate models towards more reliable predictions of future conditions.