Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Tagged by Source for Science-on-a-Sphere

  • Released Monday, April 22, 2024
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This visualization shows the CO2 being added to Earth's atmosphere over the course of the year 2021, split into four major contributors: fossil fuels in orange, burning biomass in red, land ecosystems in green, and the ocean in blue. The dots on the surface also show how atmospheric carbon dioxide is also being absorbed by land ecosystems in green and the ocean in blue. Though the land and oceans are each carbon sinks in a global sense, individual locations can be sources at different times.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prevalent greenhouse gas driving global climate change. However, its increase in the atmosphere would be even more rapid without land and ocean carbon sinks, which collectively absorb about half of human emissions every year. Advanced computer modeling techniques in NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office allow us to disentangle the influences of sources and sinks and to better understand where carbon is coming from and going to.

This is equirectangular imagery intended for projection on NOAA Science-on-a-Sphere globe.

Sample color bar for the Science-on-a-Sphere legend system.SOS label file: taggedCO2_labels.txt

Sample color bar for the Science-on-a-Sphere legend system.

SOS label file: taggedCO2_labels.txt


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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Monday, April 22, 2024.
This page was last updated on Friday, May 24, 2024 at 9:37 PM EDT.

Papers used in this visualization

Weir, B., Ott, L. E., Collatz, G. J., Kawa, S. R., Poulter, B., Chatterjee, A., Oda, T., and Pawson, S.: Bias-correcting carbon fluxes derived from land-surface satellite data for retrospective and near-real-time assimilation systems, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 9609–9628,, 2021.

Datasets used in this visualization

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.