First images from NASA OCO-2 satelite

Posted: December 18, 2014 by Andrew in atmosphere, data

imageNASA has released the first images from its Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2)  at the AGU conference today. First images from NASA’s dedicated remote sensing atmospheric Carbon Dioxide measuring satellite  OCO-2 have been released. At a media briefing today NASA presented the maps of Carbon Dioxide and solar induced chlorophyll fluorescence and discussed their potential implications.

The press release says.

The first global maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide from NASA’s new Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission demonstrate its performance and promise, showing elevated carbon dioxide concentrations across the Southern Hemisphere from springtime biomass burning.

At a media briefing today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California; Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins; and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, presented the maps of carbon dioxide and a related phenomenon known as solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence and discussed their potential implications.

A global map covering Oct. 1 through Nov. 17 shows elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere above northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil.

“Preliminary analysis shows these signals are largely driven by the seasonal burning of savannas and forests,” said OCO-2 Deputy Project Scientist Annmarie Eldering, of JPL. The team is comparing these measurements with data from other satellites to clarify how much of the observed concentration is likely due to biomass burning.

The time period covered by the new maps is spring in the Southern Hemisphere, when agricultural fires and land clearing are widespread. The impact of these activities on global carbon dioxide has not been well quantified. As OCO-2 acquires more data, Eldering said, its Southern Hemisphere measurements could lead to an improved understanding of the relative importance in these regions of photosynthesis in tropical plants, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and biomass burning, which releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The early OCO-2 data hint at some potential surprises to come. “The agreement between OCO-2 and models based on existing carbon dioxide data is remarkably good, but there are some interesting differences,” said Christopher O’Dell, an assistant professor at CSU and member of OCO-2’s science team. “Some of the differences may be due to systematic errors in our measurements, and we are currently in the process of nailing these down. But some of the differences are likely due to gaps in our current knowledge of carbon sources in certain regions — gaps that OCO-2 will help fill in.”

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has no distinguishing features to show what its source was. Elevated carbon dioxide over a region could have a natural cause — for example, a drought that reduces plant growth — or a human cause. At today’s briefing, JPL scientist Christian Frankenberg introduced a map using a new type of data analysis from OCO-2 that can help scientists distinguish the gas’s natural sources.

Through photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and use sunlight to synthesize the carbon into food. Plants end up re-emitting about one percent of the sunlight at longer wavelengths. Using one of OCO-2’s three spectrometer instruments, scientists can measure the re-emitted light, known as solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF). This measurement complements OCO-2’s carbon dioxide data with information on when and where plants are drawing carbon from the atmosphere.

“Where OCO-2 really excels is the sheer amount of data being collected within a day, about one million measurements across a narrow swath,” Frankenberg said. “For fluorescence, this enables us, for the first time, to look at features on the five- to 10-kilometer scale on a daily basis.” SIF can be measured even through moderately thick clouds, so it will be especially useful in understanding regions like the Amazon where cloud cover thwarts most spaceborne observations.

The changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide that OCO-2 seeks to measure are so small that the mission must take unusual precautions to ensure the instrument is free of errors. For that reason, the spacecraft was designed so that it can make an extra maneuver. In addition to gathering a straight line of data like a lawnmower swath, the instrument can point at a single target on the ground for a total of seven minutes as it passes overhead. That requires the spacecraft to turn sideways and make a half cartwheel to keep the target in its sights.

The targets OCO-2 uses are stations in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON), a collaborative effort of multiple international institutions. TCCON has been collecting carbon dioxide data for about five years, and its measurements are fully calibrated and extremely accurate. At the same time that OCO-2 targets a TCCON site, a ground-based instrument at the site makes the same measurement. The extent to which the two measurements agree indicates how well calibrated the OCO-2 sensors are.

Additional maps released today showed the results of these targeting maneuvers over two TCCON sites in California and one in Australia. “Early results are very promising,” said Paul Wennberg, a professor at Caltech and head of the TCCON network. “Over the next few months, the team will refine the OCO-2 data, and we anticipate that these comparisons will continue to improve.”

NASA monitors Earth’s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

Carbon Dioxide image HERE
Solar Induced Fluorescence image HERE

Comments
  1. michael hart says:

    Interesting CO2 picture. A higher concentration seen above much of China, but no evidence of large concentrations over most human conurbations, not compared to many oceanic areas.

    And a high value around the base of Greenland, which is supposed to be a major sink. I hadn’t realised there was not going to be any proper polar data. I don’t buy their preliminary explanations.

  2. ren says:

    It is clear that warm ocean to the south (summer), releases large amounts of CO2. Conversely, in the north. At the end of the winter will be very visible.
    http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/styles/946xvariable_height/public/thumbnails/image/mainco2mappia18934.jpg?itok=gi4wa1au
    In Brazil, burn out rainforests?

  3. ren says:

    For comparison.

  4. jdmcl says:

    “The time period covered by the new maps is spring in the Southern Hemisphere, when agricultural fires and land clearing are widespread.” Really? I live in the Southern Hemisphere, albeit Australia which doesn’t appear to show much CO2, and I have a farming background. Fires might occur after the harvest of cereal crops (eg. wheat), which would put them in December and I suspect sugar cane would be burnt at a similar time. Land clearing is hardly useful coming into a hot dray summer.

    Given the location of greatest concentration it looks more like a monsoon matter, perhaps heavy cloud slowing the growth of vegetation, including plankton, and therefore the absorption of CO2. The high concentration near Greenland might be vegetation die-off heading towards winter.

    Also it’s curious that heavily industrialised areas in Europe and the USA don’t show elevated CO2 levels.

  5. wayne says:

    All of that CO2 where it is not supposed to be.
    All of that CO2 missing where it is supposed to be.
    Oh my.
    Let the blame games begin.

    First take away…
    there is elevated CO2 where there is a lot of carbon-mass growing or already in the ground. No surprise here.

    If these ‘scientists’ that are in the forefront had the slightest grain of integrity they would stop all of this foolishness and take a large bite of humility. They have no idea what is going on with our climate for nothing is happening outside normal variances within any of the local climates at all. There has not been any “climate change” for over a century and none on the horizon.

  6. ntesdorf says:

    The NASA OCO-2 satellite map shows 4 big concentrations of CO2 production over large bio-mass growing areas : the Amazon Basin. Equatorial Africa, South-East Asia and Indnesia and the fertile plains of China. There are also interesting concentrations over the north and south Pacific and the Arctic is not yet covered. What the map does show is how insignificant man’s efforts at producing CO2 are in comparison to Nature’s heroic effort.
    This is surely not the message that the Warmistas hoped to see coming out of this initiative, Obviously the data is yet to be homogenized and corrected.

  7. catweazle666 says:

    Well, well…

    So it looks to me like all these developing countries owe the UK a whole sack of money!

    Presumably we send the invoice to the UN?

  8. Geoff Cruickshank says:

    Northern Australia?
    I’d say Indonesia might rate a mention before Northern Australia.

  9. The intensity of CO2 in SE Asia is in the wrong place for biomass burning.

    It is not springtime in China.

    Sumatra and Kalimantan are lower in CO2 than Java.

    The CO2 intensity seems correlated with intensive crop biomass and forest biomass. We would have to see a map of aerosols to determine if this results from burning.

    Do we have a map to compare with methane intensity?

    This map needs a lot of analysis at the regional level to make much sense.

    Further, without knowing the ratio of carbon isotopes, we cannot know the sources of the CO2 whether by burning fossil fuels lacking in C14 or biomass burning of carbon higher in C14. We could also make inferences if we knew the C13 ratios.

  10. gymnosperm says:

    Of course, and there is obviously lots of burning going on in the oceans as well…

  11. wayne says: December 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    “All of that CO2 where it is not supposed to be.
    All of that CO2 missing where it is supposed to be.
    Oh my. Let the blame games begin.
    First take away…there is elevated CO2 where there is a lot of carbon-mass growing or already in the ground. No surprise here.”

    “If these ‘scientists’ that are in the forefront had the slightest grain of integrity they would stop all of this foolishness and take a large bite of humility. They have no idea what is going on with our climate for nothing is happening outside normal variances within any of the local climates at all. There has not been any “climate change” for over a century and none on the horizon.”

    [snip]

  12. By necessity the satellite is in a Sun-synchronous orbit, so it will never get data at high latitudes.

  13. Colin Wernham (@cpwernham) says: December 19, 2014 at 7:05 am

    “By necessity the satellite is in a Sun-synchronous orbit, so it will never get data at high latitudes.”

    Why is this satellite in Sun-synchronous orbit rather than a polar orbit unless it was particularly designed to avoid measurement of the low CO2 poles. FRAUD abounds!

  14. tallbloke says:

    Will J: This is a commercial operation. The original OCO, sadly lost when the rocketry did a loop de loop and landed in the Southern ocean (oh how we laughed), was designed with a resolution of 10m, capable of forming the basis of a taxation system for individual businesses and properties. Not enough dwellings near the poles to justify the expense of gathering the data.

  15. tallbloke says:

    We also need to remember this is only one month snapshot, taken during Southern hemisphere summer. Unsurprising the southern rainforests score high as increasing warmth accelerates decomposition of dead biomass.

  16. tallbloke says: December 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

    “We also need to remember this is only one month snapshot, taken during Southern hemisphere summer. Unsurprising the southern rainforests score high as increasing warmth accelerates decomposition of dead biomass.”

    Indeed, Roger,
    You wish dialog with idiots. I wish such total destruction, that there is no need for throwing into the volcano, the idiots must climb up and jump into, as there is no recourse, against many serfs with pitchforks.

    [Moderation note] If you can’t remain civil, go elsewhere.

  17. thejollygreenman says:

    Correction,

    October to mid November is still spring in South Africa. Unless you claim that summer starts in October and lasts till March, a full six months.

  18. Roger, 1st of Dec is start of the southern hemisphere summer. In the early part of 2014 most of Australia was in a bit of a drought (25% of average rainfall in the normal wet months of Jan & Feb in Queensland). There were predictions of an El Nino but by July it was clear that the predictions were out. Mid Nov had rain which appears to be a break of the drought. -rainfall for Nov and so far in Dec is about average (at my place rain records for 121 years) There have only been a few bush fires -not serious around the country. No one in Australia burns sugar cane, nor is there any crop burning. Stubble is now all ploughed.in The co-generation at sugar mills is now failing because their is insufficient baggasse.

  19. Wayne Job says:

    As an Australian it would seem that our recently abolished carbon tax has done it’s job. That my fair land was always a proven carbon dioxide sink, never crossed the minds of the political opportunists that introduced it in the first place.

  20. vukcevic says:

    Back to future

    top – CO2 global distribution 2014
    bottom – Earth’s magnetic field around 1650 , the start of Maunder Minimum
    (end sarc)

  21. A C Osborn says:

    This just confirms the JAXA results and also confirms the work of Professor Murry Salby.

  22. ren says:

    You can see that it is very warm Indian Ocean and western Pacific.

  23. Ben Wouters says:

    @Tallbloke

    Fortunately no reactions on this sofar:
    Will Janoschka says: December 19, 2014 at 6:15 am
    “Wayne,
    Your writing indicates that you are getting as frustrated with the likes of Ben Wouters as I have been with post modern physicists since 1982. Can you or Roger please explain your desire to have communication, or meaningful discourse with such folk?”
    and
    Will Janoschka says: December 19, 2014 at 10:03 am
    “Indeed, Roger,
    You wish dialog with idiots. I wish such total destruction, that there is no need for throwing into the volcano, the idiots must climb up and jump into, as there is no recourse, against many serfs with pitchforks.”

    Especially the last post seems to indicate serious mental problems.
    Any reasons you can share that would make it understandable why you accept the continuous insults to posters and groups of professionals (eg meteorologists) by this character?

    His insulting comments have the effect of stopping most discussions.
    For all I know he may be a warmist in disguise, posting here for just that purpose.
    Great knowledge of atmospheric processes can’t be the reason to accept all this:.
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/one-equation-for-earth-temperature/comment-page-1/#comment-94993
    especially: ” Half the mass, (weight) is below 565 meters.”

  24. tallbloke says:

    Ben, my apologies. I haven’t been monitoring the comments carefully enough. I’ll put Will on moderation and check his comments.

  25. Ben Wouters says: December 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    “Especially the last post seems to indicate serious mental problems.
    Any reasons you can share that would make it understandable why you accept the continuous insults to posters and groups of professionals (eg meteorologists) by this character?
    His insulting comments have the effect of stopping most discussions.
    For all I know he may be a warmist in disguise, posting here for just that purpose.
    Great knowledge of atmospheric processes can’t be the reason to accept all this:.
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/one-equation-for-earth-temperature/comment-page-1/#comment-94993especially: ” Half the mass, (weight) is below 565 meters.” ”

    Roger,
    Since you are going to moderate this anyhow, Can you or Ben state the depth at which the the pressure of the German 10 km borehole stops going up? Ben seems to think 101KPa is the most this gravitational potential can do! Is the atmosphere on the other side of the planet below 565 meters? 🙂
    Merry Christmas to all -will- 🙂

  26. ren says:

    “The highest chlorophyll concentrations, where tiny surface-dwelling ocean plants are thriving, are in cold polar waters or in places where ocean currents bring cold water to the surface, such as around the equator and along the shores of continents. It is not the cold water itself that stimulates the phytoplankton. Instead, the cool temperatures are often a sign that the water has welled up to the surface from deeper in the ocean, carrying nutrients that have built up over time. In polar waters, nutrients accumulate in surface waters during the dark winter months when plants can’t grow. When sunlight returns in the spring and summer, the plants flourish in high concentrations.”


    “Period of stabilization of the magnetic activity Sun.
    Stabilization period earthly pole position.
    Descending upwelling in the ocean causing a decline in their photosynthesis and warming seawater
    Reducing CO2 solubility in seawater as a result of heating surface ocean waters, reducing the absorption of CO2 in the process of photosynthesis, increase the content of CO2 gas in the surface waters of the sea due to the increased acidity, decrease absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere and gradually increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by diffusion of excess CO2 from seawater into the atmosphere to a level of 300 ppmv over the duration of about 20 000 years Earth’s poles traffic loss and the consequent warming ocean waters about 12 ° C and warming the Earth about 12 ° C.”

  27. Will Janoschkas says:

    ren says: January 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    “Period of stabilization of the magnetic activity Sun. Stabilization period earthly pole position.
    Descending upwelling in the ocean causing a decline in their photosynthesis and warming seawater
    Reducing CO2 solubility in seawater as a result of heating surface ocean waters, reducing the absorption of CO2 in the process of photosynthesis, increase the content of CO2 gas in the surface waters of the sea due to the increased acidity, decrease absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere and gradually increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by diffusion of excess CO2 from seawater into the atmosphere to a level of 300 ppmv over the duration of about 20 000 years Earth’s poles traffic loss and the consequent warming ocean waters about 12 ° C and warming the Earth about 12 ° C.”

    Ren, why not admit that earthlings, or any current top predator near this Earth has any clue as to what is. This must be part of the design parameters for this local Earth, Solar system, or nearby Galaxy! [Snip]

  28. Konrad. says:

    Ben Wouters says:
    December 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Ben,
    Will is not a “warmist in disguise”. I would know. My antennae are way sensitive. I used to hunt and kill “sleepers” at WUWT for sport😉

    Will may be belligerent, but he is right, in so far as “thow shalt not use two stream approximation within the hohlrumn of the atmosphere”.

    When you understand “There is no net atmospheric GHE on planet ocean”, then you will understand, but not before.

  29. cg says:

    Reblogged this on Catholic Glasses.

  30. Dean says:

    From press release : “Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has no distinguishing features to show what its source was.”