This is absolutely wonderful news. There is no question that we don’t fully understand the complexities of our atmosphere. Our models which predict doom and gloom are woefully inadequate (which doesn’t make them incorrect – it just leaves room for extreme doubt).
Perhaps this study will solve one of my mysteries in the global warming discussion and that is that North America actually appears to sink CO2 rather than emit the gas. We know that carbon dioxide is increasing from man’s efforts due to the isotope nature of the CO2 in the air but we still struggle understanding how CO2 spreads through the atmosphere.
Next month, the U.S. space agency NASA will launch the first satellite designed exclusively to answer questions about the distribution and source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is largely responsible for global warming.
Scientists say at least 95 percent of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere comes from natural sources, such as animal and plant respiration.
No one is certain exactly where the manmade sources of CO2 are coming from. Scientists are hoping to learn that, and gather other data, beginning later this year with the launch on February 23 of the space agency’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory, or OCO.
The OCO will cover the Earth the every 16 days, using spectrographs to detect sources of CO2 and methane, another greenhouse gas.
Scientists say humans emit eight billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere through fossil fuels and land use, but only half of that remains in the atmosphere.
So, a key part of the $278 million-mission will be devoted to understanding the carbon cycle of which sinks are a part, according to mission scientist Anna Michalak.
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