Earth  ID: 3555

Aqua/AIRS Sees Belt of Carbon Dioxide in Southern Hemisphere with Winds

Although originally designed to measure atmospheric water vapor and temperature profiles for weather forecasting, data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft are now also being used by scientists to observe atmospheric carbon dioxide. This visualization shows Aqua/AIRS mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide from July 2003. Low concentrations, 360 ppm, are shown in blue and high concentrations, 385 ppm, are shown in red. Notice that despite carbon dioxide's high degree of mixing, the regional patterns of atmospheric sources and sinks are still apparent in mid-troposphere carbon dioxide concentrations.

In the southern hemisphere the jet stream flow is more directly West to East, and during the period from July to October the CO2 concentration is enhanced in a belt delineated by the jet stream and lofting of CO2 into the free troposphere by the high Andes is visible in this period. The zonal flow of CO2 around the globe at the latitude of South Africa, southern Australia and southern South America is readily apparent.

For more information on AIRS, visit the AIRS Project Web Site: The AIRS data products are available at

Visualization Credits

Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC): Lead Animator
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Tom Pagano (NASA/JPL CalTech): Scientist
Edward Olsen (NASA/JPL CalTech): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Aqua/AIRS/Wind 2003/07/01-31
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.

Dates of Data Used:

This item is part of this series:

DLESE >> Atmospheric science
SVS >> Carbon Dioxide
DLESE >> Chemistry
SVS >> Volume
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Chemistry
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Chemistry/Carbon and Hydrocarbon Compounds
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version

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