Bird's eye view on carbon cycle (OCO-2)

Meanwhile OCO-3 (Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3) is getting to be launched in April, is is high time to look back at its current forerunner, OCO-2. This spaceborne fellow has been working hard in last 4.5 years to provide the high-res global view of the carbon dioxide changes and helped us detecting previously underestimated emission hot-spots. Many of our cities have grown and merged in the unbelievably large conurbations, so large that we can see a regional-scale anomaly in carbon dioxide. You may see this red hotspot area in the Northern Italy (Greater Milan) during late autumn or dark violet grid cells over North-East China (Beijing-Tianjin, Shanghai-Suzhou and some growing urban agglomerations of Shandong and Liaoning). OCO-2 helped to detect what could not be seen by inventory datasets like strong emissions from Western Africa (like ODIAC shown in our blog earlier). Also, OCO-2 provided priceless view of the true modern lungs of Earth, boreal forests of Siberia and Canada. These forests are dragging down CO2 atmospheric content to the lowest seasonal rate in boreal summer in the process of land and forest carbon sequestration. It is beautiful to observe the natural samsara of vegetation that gives us simple view how the Earth interacts with the atmosphere where the land surface has not been touched by anthropogenic activity so much. P.s. the bonus information provided by OCO-2 is indirect and can be collected from the areas of no data (white in map), by the stretching and squeezing of this white zone we may also oversee the cycles of cloud formation (especially over tropical Africa and during monsoon season in South Asia).

Data acknowledgments:

source of dataset: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

link: (data 9r)

unit: parts per million quicker animation version:

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