A NASA supercomputer has created a ultra-high-resolution simulation model which has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe.

NASA built the simulation with the NASA Center for Climate Simulation's Discover supercomputer cluster at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The high-resolution simulation, which took 75 days to complete, uses actual Co2 emissions data from May 2005 to June 2007.

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.

NASA has also created simulation of CO2 emission in Asia & Himalayan region. In below video of view of Asia including India, two things stand out: the major emissions sources of the industrialized Asian countries, and the natural barrier of the Himalayas. As carbon dioxide concentrations swirl and move eastward, the Himalayas – the crescent-shaped mountain range just north of India – redirect winds. This video shows Feb. 1, 2006 to Mar. 1, 2006 from the simulation.

Scientists have made ground-based measurements of carbon dioxide for decades and in July NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite to make global, space-based carbon observations. But the simulation – the product of a new computer model that is among the highest-resolution ever created – is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide actually moves through the atmosphere.


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