A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2: A Striking Visualization

Dur­ing the same week when House Repub­li­cans passed a bill for­bid­ding sci­en­tists from advis­ing the EPA on its own research, NASA cli­mate sci­en­tists (coin­ci­den­tal­ly but maybe incon­ve­nient­ly) released a video doc­u­ment­ing A Year in the Life of Earth­’s CO2. Accord­ing to NASA, “The visu­al­iza­tion is a prod­uct of a sim­u­la­tion called ‘Nature Run,’ ” which “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.”  The video above visu­al­izes how car­bon diox­ide in the atmos­phere trav­eled around the globe from Jan­u­ary 2006 through Decem­ber 2006. Hope­ful­ly the take-away isn’t look at all the pret­ty col­ors. The video is in the pub­lic domain and can be down­loaded here.

To learn more about cli­mate change, see the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chicago’s course, Glob­al Warm­ing. It’s a free 23-lec­ture course pre­sent­ed by David Archer, a pro­fes­sor in the Depart­ment of The Geo­phys­i­cal Sci­ences.

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