June 11, 2009
This visualization shows mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide from July 2003. Data is from AIRS, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder on NASA's Aqua satellite. Low concentrations, 360 ppm, are shown in blue and high concentrations, 385 ppm, are shown in red. In the southern hemisphere, a belt of mid-tropospheric air containing enhanced concentrations of carbon dioxide emerged between 30 and 40 degrees south latitude. This belt had not previously been seen in any chemistry transport model.
Although originally designed to measure atmospheric water vapor and temperature profiles for weather forecasting, data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft are now also being used by scientists to observe atmospheric carbon dioxide. This visualization shows Aqua/AIRS mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide from July 2003. Low concentrations, 360 ppm, are shown in blue and high concentrations, 385 ppm, are shown in red. Notice that despite carbon dioxide's high degree of mixing, the regional patterns of atmospheric sources and sinks are still apparent in mid-troposphere carbon dioxide concentrations.
In the southern hemisphere the jet stream flow is more directly West to East, and during the period from July to October the CO2 concentration is enhanced in a belt delineated by the jet stream and lofting of CO2 into the free troposphere by the high Andes is visible in this period. The zonal flow of CO2 around the globe at the latitude of South Africa, southern Australia and southern South America is readily apparent.
For more information on AIRS, visit the AIRS Project Web Site: http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov.
More about this visualization at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/...