This mesmeric animation shows how CO2 travels around the surface of our planet, pushed by winds from its sources to travel around the globe.
An ultra-high-resolution computational model by NASA, the animation "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." Bill Putman, one of the researchers behind the model, explains:
"While the presence of carbon dioxide has dramatic global consequences, it's fascinating to see how local emission sources and weather systems produce gradients of its concentration on a very regional scale. Simulations like this, combined with data from observations, will help improve our understanding of both human emissions of carbon dioxide and natural fluxes across the globe."
The animation is a graphical representation of part of a large, complex research project known as a "Nature Run." The Nature Run takes real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases, then simulates the natural behavior of the Earth's atmosphere so we can understand how it works. [NASA]