Feature

Recent Breakthroughs in Greenhouse Gas Research: Multimedia
12.15.09
 
Artist's concept of AIRS with data inset The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite measures the infrared spectrum of Earth's atmosphere, observing and recording the global daily distribution of temperature, water vapor, clouds, and several atmospheric gases including ozone, methan and carbon monoxide. Image credit: NASA

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Still image from the water vapor animation of AIRS measurements Animation of AIRS measurements of high-altitude water vapor, 500 millibar pressure level, during August and Septmeber 2005. Image credit: NASA

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Temperature animation of AIRS measurements Animation of AIRS measurements of high-altitude temperature, 500 millibar pressure level, during August and September 2005. Image credit: NASA

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Cloud fraction animation of AIRS measurements Animation of AIRS measurements of cloud fraction during August and September 2005. Image credit: NASA

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Total carbon monoxide during August and September 2005 Animation of AIRS measurments of total column carbon monoxide during August and September 2005. Image credit: NASA

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Methane at 200 millibar pressure level Animation of AIRS measurments of methane at 200 millibar pressure level during August and September 2005. Image credit: NASA

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Total column ozone during August and September Animation of AIRS measurments of total column ozone during August and September 2005. Image credit: NASA

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AIRS map of carbon dioxide in the Earth's middle troposphere AIRS map of carbon dioxide in Earth's middle troposphere for the month of July 2009. Image credit: NASA

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Animation of the 3-D transport and distribution of water vapor Animation of the 3-D transport and distribution of water vapor as measured by AIRS from June through November 2005. Image credit: NASA

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AIRS data AIRS data (shown by the blue curve) are able to duplicate the historic Keeling curve of carbon dioxide growth (shown by the red curve) since September 2002. The amplitude of the seasonal variation is different at the higher altitude where AIRS sensitivity is greatest. Image credit: NASA

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Concentration of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere AIRS can observe the concentration of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere, with 15,000 daily observations, pole to pole, all over the globe, with an accuracy of 1 to 2 parts per million and a horizontal surface resolution of 1 by 1 degree. The monthly map at right allows researchers to better observe variations of carbon dioxide at different latitudes and during different seasons. Image credit: NASA

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Overlay of the Keeling Curve on AIRS carbon dioxide data This animation shows an overlay of the Keeling Curve on monthly maps of AIRS carbon dioxide data. The animation runs from September 2002 to July 2008, using a single color code that becomes saturated at the end of the animation. The maximum carbon dioxide concentration in the northern hemisphere is around May-June, while the minimum occurs in November. From 2003 to 2008, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the mid troposphere increased by about 9 parts per million. Image credit: NASA

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Carbon dioxide concentration AIRS data show that carbon dioxide is not well mixed in Earth's atmosphere, results that have been validated by direct measurements. The belt of carbon dioxide concentration in the southern hemisphere, depicted in red, reaches maximum strength in July-August and minimum strength in December-January. There is a net transfer of carbon dioxide from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere. The northern hemisphere produces three to four times more human produced carbon dioxide than the southern hemisphere. Image credit: NASA

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distribution of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide Animation of the distribution of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide. The transport of carbon dioxide around the world is carried out in the "free atmosphere" above the surface layer. We can observe the transport of carbon dioxide across the Pacific to North America, then across the Atlantic to Europe and the Mediterranean to Asia and back around the globe. The enhanced belt of carbon dioxide in the southern hemisphere is also clearly visible. Image credit: NASA

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Carbon monoxide from fires in South America Animation of AIRS measurements of carbon monoxide from forest fires in South America. The animation shows how the carbon monoxide was transported to Indonesia and beyond. Image credit: NASA

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Carbon monoxide from the Los Angeles Station Fire Still image of AIRS measurements of carbon monoxide from the Los Angeles Station Fire. The carbon monoxide was transported to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Image credit: NASA

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Graph of AIRS methane data Methane (CH4) is the third component of atmospheric carbon and is becoming a leading greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). It has a lifetime of about 10 years. This graph of AIRS methane data shows a leveling off between 2003-2007, but shows a small increase beginning in 2008. Image credit: NASA

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Percent difference in water vapor between an El Nino and La Nina This plot shows the percent difference in water vapor between a warm El Nino and a cold La Nina, as a function of latitude (x-axis) and altitude (y-axis). This shows large increases in water vapor over the equator and in the upper troposphere. Image credit: Texas A&M

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AIRS infrared image of Cyclone Nargis AIRS infrared image of Cyclone Nargis. Image credit: NASA

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Graphs showing improvements in data reported by AIRS In a preliminary study, scientists demonstrated that inclusion of AIRS upper tropospheric temperature information would have significantly improved the forecast of Cyclone Nargis. A follow-up study showed that AIRS observations were also able to improve the forecasts of Atlantic hurricanes. Image credit: NASA

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