NASA just launched a new high-resolution computer model that gives a stunning look at the yearly movement of carbon emissions through the planet’s atmosphere. NASA created the model by combining ground-based measurements with data received from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) which was launched in July. The simulation is one of the highest resolution models ever created, and it clearly shows major emission sources and the way winds disperse greenhouse gases.

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Carbon emissions have been measured fro decades, but the new OCO-2 satellite provided valuable input for creating the high-res simulation. The carbon dioxide visualization was produced by a computer model called GEOS-5, created by scientists at NASA Goddard’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. It is part of a larger simulation called Nature Run, which uses real data on atmospheric conditions and greenhouse gas sources to simulate the behavior of the planet’s atmosphere. It simulates winds, clouds, water vapor, dust, black carbon, sea salt and emissions from industry and volcanoes.

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The simulation took 75 days to compute and it produced nearly four petabytes of data. Its resolution is 64 times greater than typical global climate models, and it will be used by scientists to better project earth’s future climate.

+ NASA