Research and Application News
NASA pinpoints cause of Earth's recent record Carbon Dioxide spike
12 October 2017
A new NASA study provides space-based evidence that Earth's tropical regions were the cause of the largest annual increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration seen in at least 2,000 years.
Scientists suspected the 2015-16 El Nino - one of the largest on record - was responsible, but exactly how has been a subject of ongoing research. Analysing the first 28 months of data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite, researchers conclude impacts of El Nino-related heat and drought occurring in tropical regions of South America, Africa and Indonesia were responsible for the record spike in global carbon dioxide. The findings are published in the journal Science Friday as part of a collection of five research papers based on OCO-2 data.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech - The last El Nino in 2015-16 impacted the amount of carbon dioxide that Earth's tropical regions released into the atmosphere, leading to Earth's recent record spike in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The effects of the El Nino were different in each region