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AIRS and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

  1. Dec 16, 2009 #1
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/AIRS_CO2_Data/AIRS_and_CO2/" [Broken]

    I'm not sure about the long term analysis will work out, but it looks to me like the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument is providing fundamental data about how our climate works.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2009 #2


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    Let me just say.... wow. Thanks for the link! This is going to make a major impact in all kinds of ways. The detail this is able to extract is remarkable. I have been browsing and I see all kinds of new details and features that may help resolve various outstanding puzzles and which bear upon various topics we've considered here.

    Your link is going to new research which gives distributions of CO2 over the globe with a detail that I've never seen before; and which show up various features that have never been measured previously. This is likely to be an enormous help in sorting out the sources and sinks of the carbon cycle, which are at present subject to all kinds of unknowns.

    And that only scratches the surface of what is available. There's a lot more than only the CO2 inferences; it looks at water vapour, temperature, pollution, air movement, etc, etc. This project has a home page: Atmospheric Infrared Sounder from which you can explore to get masses of data, detailed descriptions of how it works, FAQs, publications, and lists of the scientific impacts which cover a whole range of topics in weather and climate.

    Cheers -- sylas
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  4. Dec 16, 2009 #3
    So what is the color scale and the range of the variation?
  5. Dec 16, 2009 #4


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    Of CO2 variation described in the first link? There was a press release about this just recently: NASA Outlines Recent Breakthroughs in Greenhouse Gas Research (JPL press release, December 15, 2009).

    Some key features. CO2 is not uniformly distributed, but "lumpy". In particular there is a band of higher concentrations of CO2 in the Southern Hemisphere not previously seen. Here's a diagram, showing the scale.
    411791main_slide5-AIRS-full.jpg (Credit: C. Thompson/JPL/NASA)

    There is also a page for obtaining the http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/AIRS_CO2_Data/ [Broken].

    Cheers -- sylas
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Dec 17, 2009 #5
    The discrepence between the nothern and southern hemisphere seems to be unexpected. You would think this would affect the temperatures, currently whenever a difference in hemispheres is mentioned the ozone hole and more water in the southern hemisphere are taken as the main causes.
  7. Dec 17, 2009 #6


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    The difference between North and South in CO2 levels was already well known. What was not known was that band of higher concentrations circulating around latitude 30 S or so; or indeed other fine details in the distribution of CO2.

    The major cause of temperature difference between North and South, however, is water. The oceans heat up much more slowly than the land, and there is a lot more ocean in the Southern hemisphere. The ozone hole may make a difference; but not nearly as much as the ocean. The difference in concentrations in CO2 is not enough to make a detectable difference for temperatures given all the other much larger local factors involved.

    A difference of 2ppm is a forcing of less than 0.03 W/m2, which is pretty tiny.

    The major relevance of this is likely to be, in my opinion, to help sort out details of the carbon cycle; which currently is not well known.

    Cheers -- sylas
  8. Dec 17, 2009 #7


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    From the http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-196"
    Wonder what negative feedbacks might occur within the next century?

    Looks like large emissions over the US and Europe are being swept towards towards the southeast by prevailing winds. Large concentration is pooling over Kazakhstan.
    China emission are being swept more towards the northeast and pool off the coast of Canada. Argentina/Brazil and South Africa emission area also observable.
    Australia, while high on per capita emissions basis looks to have small over all emissions.
    Sink over Sibera makes sense because of all the tree, but can think of no reason for sink over Greenland.

    Also looks like Maun Lau is in a slightly above average location while the Congo and Amazon are in the middle of a below average sink. There is a oddly high concentration along the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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