NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2

NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth's CO2

An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe.

Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.

The carbon dioxide visualization was produced by a computer model called GEOS-5, created by scientists at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office.

The visualization is a product of a simulation called a “Nature Run.” The Nature Run ingests real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases and both natural and man-made particulates. The model is then left to run on its own and simulate the natural behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere. This Nature Run simulates January 2006 through December 2006.

While Goddard scientists worked with a “beta” version of the Nature Run internally for several years, they released this updated, improved version to the scientific community for the first time in the fall of 2014.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:

Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast:

Or find NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on facebook:

Or find us on Twitter:
twitter: #NASAGoddard

20 thoughts on “NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2”

  1. Co2 is highest in winter and non-existent in summer.. So it makes for warmer winters and that's bad?

  2. I believe global warming IS a real thing and we need to reduce the amount of CO2 we produce, but I question the validity of the information in this video. Why is the 13th most economically wealthy country, Australia not generating any CO2 until May? Don't they use their cars, trucks, planes or industry until then? If Argentina has double the GDP than Chile, why is Chile shown as producing more CO2 than Argentina? You would expect the CO2 levels to reduce in the summer months, but when it is claimed time and time again that fossil fuel driven transport is such a major contributor, why aren't pollutants highlighted in Australia until the narrator indicates that natural fires produce CO in the Southern hemisphere?

  3. Fires in SOUTH AMERICA? LOL I don't think so.
    I've lived for over 15 years in Argentina, fires are the LEAST frequent in South America. It's not a dry continent like Africa.

  4. if all this is true then wouldn't higher temps from increased co2 lengthen the growing season in the north, which would decrease co2 just like year-round plant growth does south of the equator, and wouldn't that cool the earth? so it would be a self-correcting problem.

  5. There is a problem with this video.It starts on jan 1 and shows very little red in the northern hemisphere, but it ends in dec and shows a huge amount of red and dark red in the north. how does the co2 drop so much in one day? I say one day because the December before the January at the start of the video must have been similar to the December at the end.

  6. SOIL 4 CLIMATE, THE ONLY SOLUTION, we can regulate our climate with the soil to get the exact amount of co2 we want if we start to understand the role of soil and start to manage it and our land right.

  7. Compare last image in December to the first image in January. Looks like CO2 almost disappeared over New Year celebrations 🙂

  8. Co2 level rise has doubled in 3 months from 3ppm per year to 6ppm in 1st quarter of 2017. Something else is emitting vast amounts of co2 and methane besides humans??? I suspect it is the Milankovich Cycle effect :- When the earth warms it releases co2 and methane circa 1tt per 1'c of warming. Now we are in serious trouble.

  9. In other words, between the winter and summer seasons everything balances out as it should. No need to worry. And having spent my entire life in the upper portions of the northern hemisphere (MT, ND, MN, WI) where it is alway freezing-arsed cold in winter and pleasantly cool in the summer, and where according to this video there is a massive concentration of CO2… I'm even more convinced there is no need to worry. Given that the CO2 concentration is highest in the colder regions of the northern hemisphere, you'd think "scientists" would maybe draw a correlation between CO2 and cold?

  10. All the third world countries hitting industrialization at once while the rest of the world has moved past it and is now focusing on responsible decisions. Of course, we can't make em stop, but we could always try and get them the means to reduce emissions. China, South America, Mexico, and areas in Africa seem to be the primary producers of these emissions. If you observe, you can see them "breathing" with the start/stop of each work day.

Comments are closed.