NASA simulation shows a year in the life of Earth’s CO2

Michael Walsh

NASA scientists have created an ultra-high-resolution computer model that gives staggering views of how carbon dioxide swirls around Mother Earth — and the heavy toll it takes on her.

Earlier this week, the space agency released a new simulation created with this model, called GEOS-5, that shows clouds of carbon dioxide, a key driver of global warming, drifting far from their original sources — turning local greenhouse gases into global problems.

“It reiterates what we’ve seen from science over the years,” Bill Putman, lead scientist on the project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., told Yahoo News. “We’re emitting gases, and Earth is trying to absorb that in its reservoirs, but the concentration is continuing to grow.”

The video shows carbon dioxide levels climbing higher and higher for an entire year.

Scientists at Goddard’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office developed the technology and worked with a beta version of this simulation internally for years.

Now NASA scientists are releasing an improved version to the larger scientific community. They will present the technology at the SC14 supercomputing conference in New Orleans this week.

“At NASA we are always trying to make new tools to really show the atmosphere in better detail,” said Putman.

The simulation, called a nature run, re-creates atmospheric conditions from May 2005 to June 2007. But the video, uploaded to the Internet on Monday, shows only from January until December 2006.