NASA Visuals Show CO2 Emissions Rapidly Building Up

Fast-rising concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have become the leading cause of human-induced global warming. Addressing the challenge of reducing these emissions has become a critical focus in international climate negotiations.
The videos developed by NASA offer a unique and engaging perspective on the global carbon cycle, which involves the continuous movement of carbon between the land, atmosphere, and ocean. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the carbon cycle was relatively balanced, with comparable amounts of carbon emitted into the atmosphere and absorbed by the land and ocean. However, with the widespread burning of fossil fuels since the mid-1800s, humans have significantly accelerated the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

These new visualizations effectively depict CO2 emissions from various sources, such as the burning of fossil fuels (represented by yellow), biomass burning (represented by red), emissions from land ecosystems (represented by green), and emissions from the ocean (represented by blue). The videos also highlight the absorption of CO2 by land ecosystems and the ocean through pulsing squares, illustrating the delicate balance between emissions and natural sinks.

The videos show that CO2 emissions from human activities are increasing year-over-year. In 2021, human activities emitted an estimated 37 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is about half of the total amount of CO2 that is currently in the atmosphere.

The videos also show that CO2 emissions are not evenly distributed around the globe. The Northern Hemisphere emits more CO2 than the Southern Hemisphere. This is because the Northern Hemisphere has a larger population and a more industrialized economy. CO2 emissions from the Northern Hemisphere are also more concentrated in certain regions, such as Europe and North America. These regions emit more CO2 per capita than other regions of the world.

The videos also show that CO2 emissions are transported around the globe by air currents. This means that CO2 emissions from one region can have an impact on the climate of another region. For example, CO2 emissions from Europe and North America can contribute to climate change in the Arctic. The Arctic is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the planet, and this is partly due to the transport of CO2 from the Northern Hemisphere.

Image of post in post detailed view

  • Annett Michuki..

    50 w

    this is worrying

    • Sarah Chabane

      50 w

      Pretty shocking

      • Munene Mugambi

        51 w

        With NASA resources we need to do better to control climate change

        Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
        Post youtube preview with preloading
        youtube overlay

        Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

        Write a climate review

        Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
        0 trees planted

        One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

        Download the app

        We plant a tree for every new user.