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

Hi, this is Bill Putman. I’m a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. What you’re looking at is a supercomputer model of carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. The visualization compresses one year of data into a few minutes. Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas affected by human activity. About half of the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel combustion remains in the atmosphere, while the other half is absorbed by natural land and ocean reservoirs. In the Northern Hemisphere, we see the highest concentrations are focused around major emission sources over North America, Europe and Asia. Notice how the gas doesn’t stay in one place. The dispersion of carbon dioxide is controlled by the large-scale weather patterns within the global circulation. During spring and summer in the Northern Hemisphere, plants absorb a substantial amount of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, thus removing some of the gas from the atmosphere. We see this change in the model as the red and purple colors start to fade. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, we see the release of another pollutant—carbon monoxide. This is a gas that’s both harmful to the environment and to humans. During the summer months, plumes of carbon monoxide stream from fires in Africa, South America and Australia, contributing to high concentrations in the atmosphere. Notice how these emissions are also transported by winds to other parts of the world. As summer transitions to fall, and plant photosynthesis decreases, carbon dioxide begins to accumulate in the atmosphere. Although this change is expected, we’re seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere each year. This is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2, will be the first NASA satellite mission to provide a global view of carbon dioxide. OCO-2 observations and atmospheric models like GEOS-5 will work closely together to better understand both human emissions and natural fluxes of carbon dioxide. This will help guide climate models toward more reliable predictions of future conditions across the globe.


  1. It''s true that co2 is causing a rise in temperature. But isn't it the imbalanced emission of co2 around the world is the one causing the changes in weather? Seems like it's all related to heat island effect.

  2. So sad to think that some people now even doesn't believe the earth is dying. Why people are so ignorant?

  3. CO2 results in more vegetation …hence more O2 in the atmosphere is a response…human need O2…it’s not clear that the long term effects is directly related to long term increase in temperatures and where is the links for global temperature measurements.

  4. One thing that stuck with me throught the whole video, here in Patagonia seems to be the most unpoluted place to live right?

  5. Do you use red to scare people thinking that the CO 2 levels are dangerously high? And tell me what is the ideal CO 2 level or the most so called natural one.

  6. I know this is a supercomputer model – but the available CO2 Rasters from NASA have really poor resolution (2 degrees x 2.5 degrees). Does anyone know if there are monthly rasters for CO2 concentration with better resolution? (e.g. close to what is shown in this video).

  7. what is the meaning of prediction, there is on need of it unless we are making efforts to tackle carbon emission or else its just a waste time and talent.

  8. I have a question. I want use this video in science museum to show the danger of environmental destruction. Can I use this one regardless of copyright?

  9. In the winter months the tips of South America Africa and Australia are pretty empty of a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

  10. nice; so when the planet warms up we'll have a longer growing season and the plants will consume CO2 for a longer season.

  11. We need to stop using car and fossil fuels and stop cutting down big forest, or a huge part of our civilisation is going to die.

  12. No honest scientist denies the lagged response of CO2 content to warming and ocean outgassing, yet here you are, a public funded agency omitting any mention of that lagged effect, pretending 30 gt claimed as the best estimate of total annual human emissions drives the climate system of the planet, when natural flux is 600 – 700 gt per year, NASA is omitting a key point of fact, and a disservice to the public who pays NASA's generous salaries. The idea that instrument calibration errors and guesstimates of total flux are accurate enough on a global scale to define 30/700=0.04 that tiny ratio of CO2 is the control knob of global climate, and not merely noise in a chaotic system, is not believable. Sorry.

  13. I find this logic used in the video very fabricated. I'm not denying that carbon emissions exist, I'm simply stating that this diagram is not an accurate representation of what our atmosphere goes through. This shows pretty much clean carbon emissions in 01/01/2006 and goes onto the end of 12/31/2007. Compare the visual between the two dates… When photosynthesis occurs, it occurs between the seasons of spring and fall, which is why it results in the smaller amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. During the fall and winter, as shown and as known, photosynthesis does not occur and leaves a larger abundance of carbon emissions in the sky. However, due to this being actually factual, 01/01/2006 should clearly be covered in red and purple indicators showing a mass amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere because it's in the winter… Doesn't make sense.

  14. Why 2006 was the worst year in 2000's

    1:This video/Global warming by parts of North America and Asia
    2: Sonic 06
    3: horrible cartoons came

  15. Unfortunately for the climate models from Satellite data taken over the last 25 years ( from their beginning) 0.06 Celsius change per decade that is a 6/100ths of a degree per decade change extremely stable. Myth busted. According to the theory Mars should be way hotter than Earth. Mars has 95% CO2 in its atmosphere vs less than 0.5% on Earth. Yet on Mars the temperature is minus -125 Celsius in winter and in summer at the equator 20 Celsius during the day but at night minus 73 Celsius. What happened to that CO2 controls climate model. Myth busted.

  16. Co2 does not pose an existential threat to the planet. We know this because the co2 levels are at an all time low comparatively to the rest of history and only slightly higher than the lowest level ever. Co2 has gradually been sequestered into the geology over billions of years from a level as high as 50% of the total atmosphere. Life has thrived during much higher co2 levels. If the temperature were going to spiral out of control it would have already done so a long long time ago. There has only been ice on Earth for 20% of its history. Temperatures have risen imperceptibly since records began in the 19th century and this is born out by the fact that sea levels have not risen by any more than 2mm per year if that since the 19th century. Old Photos of land marks eg Statue of Liberty show that there is no perceivable rise in sea level since the 19th century. Life thrives in warm climates. If the Earth were expected to cool by 4 degrees that would be a real worry because food production and general survival of life would be much more difficult. 30 years ago experts said the Maldives would be swamped by now. No such thing has happened. There is actually more land mass now than there was then and there has been much coastal development of millionaires villas and holiday homes. Of course the government still holds out the begging bowl for compensation from the developed nations.

  17. Earth O2 production vs human CO2 production

    CO2 human production estimate: 29 billion tonnes per year (1/3 of O2) and Earth produces around 100 billion per year.

    O2 production:

    2.6 tonnes of O2 per acre of trees
    9.880 billion acre's of trees

    = O2 annually: 25.688 billion tonnes

    Algae 150 tonnes(100-200) of O2 per acre annually. Oceans produce estimate of around 75% of oxygen
    = 25 billion (roughly 25% of land oxygen) = around 75 billion tonnes by oceans

    Around 100 billion tonnes of O2 per year

  18. We need to control it because dont alive with poluted atmosphere. We give priorty to other things.we have time to save our earth after we have not choice to die.

  19. Something wronggggggggggg in this model…. Were is HAARP…………What no volcano……………….. This is a model, fake situation.. Fake news…

  20. We should raze half of the northern hemisphere countries and replace then with forests because they are clearly entirely at fault for global warming and polution in general, but wont move a finger to do anything about it and instead put the burden on the southern countries

  21. Well the trees and plants must be having the time of their lives. Being able too breath easy for the first time in a long time .. wonderful

  22. A lot of things has been already said on that video, however two details "stroke" me :

    – The accumulation of CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere and its virtual absence on the other side of the Planet. Could that explain, partially, the observed discrepancies in terms of Climate Change between both Hemispheres ?

    – The unexpected and astonishing role played by the Northern Forests (Canada, Scandinavia & Russia) : they start to work as from late spring and they remove nearly all the CO2 within a single month.

  23. You do know, that CO2 only makes up .02% of the atmosphere? It's a trace gas. Just a little info you normally don't get. What about SO2 and CO? Water vapor even. This has a major effect on the climate. Ask NASA about solar activity. They put out an article about 8 or so years ago on how the Sun and our climate correspond. Then they redacted it. Why? That's back when they called it global warming. Back in the 80's, they started using the term climate change when the whole global cooling campaign failed. This is about money and power, not saving the planet.

  24. What if, we fly to the atmosphere and collect some of this gas and bring it down to the earth's surface then filter it with trees.

    (Sound stupid right?)

  25. You can see how CO2 clouds travel from USA to Europe and then are blocked by the Himalayas, to prevent them from going into South Asia. Such as at 0:43 , a huge CO2 cloud stops abruptly at the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

  26. Soy de Argentina. Cuando viajé a México, Estados Unidos y España pude comprobar que el aire que se respira en esas naciones es diferente y muy contaminado. Las partículas de monóxido se acumulaban bastante en los orificios de mi nariz.

  27. Global warming is a hoax made up by the liberal media to get rid of our war machines so that we can get overwhelmed by the shadow government. Do not believe the lies of the government.

  28. So, so. Half of the CO2 emitted by fossil fuels remain in the atmosphere but all the CO2 emitted by natural causes is absorbed by nature. Fossil fuel CO2 must be a different molecule then. Considering that 95% of CO2 is emitted by nature, nature seams to be able to distinguish between fossil fuel CO2 and any other CO2. The wisdom of NASA is fantastic.

  29. Wow you can see human use of fossil fuels significantly in the winter time! Because it's cold! And carbon monoxide from fires during the summer! Because it's hot!

  30. The color scaling is pretty deceptive (not saying it's deliberate), the upper portion is irrelevant because it's never reached, and the scale of effective colors is a delta of only 5 ppm throughout the year on average. I'd like to see the concentration data from 1920s and 1880s.

  31. Remember, this is a model !!!. Its not true that half of the CO2 is emitted my humans. In fact 98% is emitted by the oceans and water bodies. It actually pretty simple – when it gets warmer more CO2 is emitted by the oceans. Its like a carbonated soda can. When you heat it all the CO2 is gone and it doesnt taste very good anymore. But when you cool it it stays inside. Its an endothermic reaction!!. Arguing CO2 heats the planet would mean its an exothermic reaction which is simply not true. Its not more CO2 that causes the planet to heat, its the other way around. More heat causes more CO2 to be emitted by the oceans. Programing a model which leaves out the oceans and arguing that humans cause 50% of the CO2 emissions on the planet is a false assumption and causes the model to be inaccurate. Its not 50% its 1/50.

  32. A Presumptuous Opinion: This is a form of entertainment which used to be called Children's Cartoon, and today they're called "Graphics/Images." Think outside the boxes.

  33. Компьютерная модель, составленная на основе спутниковых данных NASA, позволяет увидеть, как углекислый газ в атмосфере «путешествует» по всему земному шару.

    Специалисты Центра космических полетов Годдарда (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) разработали специальную компьютерную программу, которая имитирует движение в земной атмосфере парниковых газов, большую часть которых составляет двуокись углерода или углекислый газ. В компьютер загружались данные по погодным условиям и углекислому газу за последние десятилетия, и в результате стало возможным создать «путевую карту» газа, перемещающегося по планете на протяжении всего года. Данные для проекта, получившего название «Nature Run», собирались с 2005 года, когда содержание частиц углекислого газа в атмосфере Земли составляло 375-385 на миллион. К 2014 году эта цифра превысила значение в 400 частиц на миллион, и компьютерная модель была обновлена. Пик концентрации углекислоты приходится на весну и падает летом. Как отмечает National Geographic, это обусловлено массовым цветением растений и полностью раскрывшимся листьям деревьев в Северном полушарии: начиная с июня они максимально активно поглощают углекислый газ. А осенью и зимой природа погружается в сон, и концентрация углекислого газа снова увеличивается. Большая часть суши расположена в Северном полушарии, поэтому там влияние растительности на атмосферу более заметно.

  34. Carbon dioxide is not harmful to the environment and humans! It is a non-toxic invisible trace gas, which serves as food for plants. Without carbon dioxide there are no plants, no algae no animals no humans! Since the carbon dioxide has risen, the world has become greener, food production has grown by about 20%. Carbon dioxide is useful and indispensable!

  35. Looks to me like all we need to do is green up the deserts in Africa, the Western United States and the Middle East. That should take up the excess CO2. I still maintain that CO1 and ocean dumping are far larger environmental problems, though. I also do not think carbon taxing or A Green New Deal are proper solutions. The observant among us may have noticed that the first purple appears in the East, then blows over North America. Looks like we need to get China and Russia on board. Or just introduce large scale agriculture into the driest parts of the world. I suggest desalination plants along the coasts of Africa, California and the Middle East. Pipe water through the mountain ranges and get water into the ground in the deserts. That'll sink both CO2 and excess sea water into the ground, as well as allowing us to remove lead and mercury from the oceans. We totally have the technological capability to do this, and far more, but nobody wants to cuz $$$

  36. 26 of the richest people on earth have 50% of all money
    These kind of people meet at the bilderberg meeting discussing how they should run the economy and control society

    The human mind can only associate with around 150 different individuals before relations starts to get confusing, it's called dunbars number

    We should strive for making a society where 50% of all money can never end up in a group of individuals smaller than dunbars number! So the richests doesn't have a chance to control the world so easily

    If it was over 200 of the richest people that had 50% of all the money in the world, that would give much more power to the rest of humanity

    But thats not how things are going… The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer

    The great filter is here, and it's called narcissism.

    We must spread more awareness about this!
    Pls share this message if you want power to the people!

  37. Co2 in the atmosphere is less then 0.04 % and man makes 4% of it and if we half are output which is near impossible it wouldn't make a difference.

  38. wel whot your input to NASA now admiting that the Grand Solar Minium is real and it may alredy be afecting earth
    , now dont class me as a climate denier or any thing else

  39. Very poor colour key. People are used to red being "the worst", with the "traffic light" system of yellow, orange then red in that order. So colours should be reworked.

  40. Nasa is the direct Cause of more polution than any other corporations.
    Manufacturing of craft and components along with trillions of tonnes of fuel burning.
    Fold up nasa and use their funding to save the world.

  41. This got me thinking a lot about trees. Just look at how clean the Southern hem is. This has a lot to do with the equatorial forests in Africa and the Amazon. I think what Northern territories should do is actually plant a lot of trees in the Sahara desert. It is both near the equator and could do the same thing Amazon is doing in the South. There is tech to plant trees and lush out the desert that can be used to do this quite easily.

  42. Why should we look at a model, when satellite measurements are available? And they look very different. Are we now replacing reality by computer simulations? In the real measurements, CO2 accumulates near the equator. For every honest scientist, this should be reason enough to look what is wrong in the models. But you make a fancy video and present it to the public. Most people in this commentary already take this as reality – when it produces just what NASA scientists have put in.

  43. Most of pollutions are on the Northern side, but the Ozone Hole is over the South Pole. That’s all you need to know about “human interference”

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