Friday, December 19, 2014

Article: Carbon dioxide satellite mission returns first global maps

The title summarizes the article well.

The graphic is interesting, and rich in information that is puzzling.


Note that the data is from late fall in the northern hemisphere and late spring in the southern hemisphere. Plant use of CO2 is lower in the fall than in the spring. Previous research shows that CO2 decreases in the atmosphere of the southern hemisphere and increases in the northern hemisphere at this time. The graphic generally shows the opposite of what might be expected.

There is a broad band with a higher concentration of CO2 in the southern tropics. The authors attribute this to "biomass burning." The northern tropics show a lower concentration in their "winter" than the "summer" southern tropics. However, why there would be such a larger amount of biomass burning in the southern tropics as compared to the northern ones is not clear. The difference between southern and northern Africa is especially dramatic.

The southern tropics also show areas with high levels in the open ocean, well away from any land. I would not put much credence on the "biomass burning" guess. It strikes me as a "climatically correct" guess pulled out of someone's **s.

England, and Europe in general, has a very low level of CO2 in their atmosphere. Given their reliance on fossil fuels, this is surprising. Germany is increasing its use of coal, and eastern Europe has always been more reliant on coal than the western part. [Note: of the fossil fuels, coal gives off the highest amount of CO2 per unit of energy. It is considered the most "polluting" of the fossil fuels.]

Oddly, too, the Pennsylvania/Ohio part of the eastern US has a lower level of CO2 than would expected given its reliance on fossil fuels in general and coal in particular. On the other hand, the southern US has a relatively high level.

China has very high levels of CO2, as to be expected given its very high reliance on coal.

There is also a large "spot" in the northern Pacific Ocean near the Arctic that has a high level of CO2. Perhaps it is to be expected that cold water would generate more CO2 than not, but does not explain why the southern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, near the Antarctic, have a low level of CO2 as that water is generally cool, as well.

Given the recent failures of multiple climate models, one wonders if actual data from satellite sensors will not cause of the overthrow of more models. The NASA satellites recording the actual temperatures of the earth are producing data that is at odds with data from other sources and with existing climate models.

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