Who needs an Orbiting Carbon Observatory to track it when you can model Carbon Dioxide movement?

CO2-NASA-ModelVideo follows. I had at first thought that this press release from NASA Goddard was telling me that they had taken the data from their new Orbiting Carbon Observatory and put it into a model that used wind data so that distribution and mixing could be tracked. Seems sensible, right? But no, they’ve created a model that is projecting such things years before the OCO even made it in to orbit, while touting that they have it. The model “simulates May 2005 to June 2007” They write: (bold mine):

But the simulation – the product of a new computer model that is among the highest-resolution ever created – is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide actually moves through the atmosphere.

Uh, sorry, no. Model simulations aren’t actual movements, you need hard tracking data for that. One wonders what sort of science mindset exists where they can substitute modeled output for actual data and publish a press release like this with a straight face.Hopefully, somebody at NASA Goddard will actually use the OCO data instead of model data to make claims. The high resolution model itself has merit, but without hard atmospheric CO2 data put into it, like we have from the new OCO, it really is just little more than a model with guesswork data.

NASA Computer Model Provides a New Portrait of Carbon Dioxide

An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe.

Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.

Scientists have made ground-based measurements of carbon dioxide for decades and in July NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite to make global, space-based carbon observations. But the simulation – the product of a new computer model that is among the highest-resolution ever created – is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide actually moves through the atmosphere.

“While the presence of carbon dioxide has dramatic global consequences, it’s fascinating to see how local emission sources and weather systems produce gradients of its concentration on a very regional scale,” said Bill Putman, lead scientist on the project from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Simulations like this, combined with data from observations, will help improve our understanding of both human emissions of carbon dioxide and natural fluxes across the globe.”

The carbon dioxide visualization was produced by a computer model called GEOS-5, created by scientists at NASA Goddard’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. In particular, the visualization is part of a simulation called a “Nature Run.” The Nature Run ingests real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases and both natural and man-made particulates. The model is then is left to run on its own and simulate the natural behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere. This Nature Run simulates May 2005 to June 2007.

While Goddard scientists have been tweaking a “beta” version of the Nature Run internally for several years, they are now releasing this updated, improved version to the scientific community for the first time. Scientists are presenting a first look at the Nature Run and the carbon dioxide visualization at the SC14 supercomputing conference this week in New Orleans.

“We’re very excited to share this revolutionary dataset with the modeling and data assimilation community,” Putman said, “and we hope the comprehensiveness of this product and its ground-breaking resolution will provide a platform for research and discovery throughout the Earth science community.”

In the spring of 2014, for the first time in modern history, atmospheric carbon dioxide – the key driver of global warming – exceeded 400 parts per million across most of the northern hemisphere. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide concentrations were about 270 parts per million. Concentrations of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere continue to increase, driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels.

Despite carbon dioxide’s significance, much remains unknown about the pathways it takes from emission source to the atmosphere or carbon reservoirs such as oceans and forests. Combined with satellite observations such as those from NASA’s recently launched OCO-2, computer models will help scientists better understand the processes that drive carbon dioxide concentrations.

The Nature Run also simulates winds, clouds, water vapor and airborne particles such as dust, black carbon, sea salt and emissions from industry and volcanoes.

The resolution of the model is approximately 64 times greater than that of typical global climate models. Most other models used for long-term, high-resolution climate simulations resolve climate variables such as temperatures, pressures, and winds on a horizontal grid consisting of boxes about 50 kilometers (31 miles) wide.  The Nature Run resolves these features on a horizontal grid consisting of boxes only 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) wide.

The Nature Run simulation was run on the NASA Center for Climate Simulation’s Discover supercomputer cluster at Goddard Space Flight Center. The simulation produced nearly four petabytes (million billion bytes) of data and required 75 days of dedicated computation to complete.

In addition to providing a striking visual description of the movements of an invisible gas like carbon dioxide, as it is blown by the winds, this kind of high-resolution simulation will help scientists better project future climate. Engineers can also use this model to test new satellite instrument concepts to gauge their usefulness. The model allows engineers to build and operate a “virtual” instrument inside a computer.

Using GEOS-5 in tests known as Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE) allows scientists to see how new satellite instruments might aid weather and climate forecasts.

“While researchers working on OSSEs have had to rely on regional models to provide such high-resolution Nature Run simulations in the past, this global simulation now provides a new source of experimentation in a comprehensive global context,” Putman said. “This will provide critical value for the design of Earth-orbiting satellite instruments.”


For detailed views of various parts of the world, visit:

www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/a-closer-look-at-carbon-dioxide

For more information about NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, visit:

www.nasa.gov/oco

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158 thoughts on “Who needs an Orbiting Carbon Observatory to track it when you can model Carbon Dioxide movement?

  1. I suppose this was inevitable… when they abandoned manned spaceflight in favor of probes, the next logical step would be to abandon probes and go to modeling whatever it is they want to study.

      • Modeling and Muslim outreach do not seem like compatible goals unless NASA is modeling burqas. I bet Muslims would appreciate a space suit designed to look like a burqa. It would cover the whole body, act like a chastity belt when locked, and the air supply could be adjusted for punishment when the woman misbehaves. No more need for beatings or messy beheadings – or caskets for that matter. (/sarc)

    • I bet they didn’t model anything. It’s likely they just stole some 3D particle effects of Jupiter’s cloud formations from Hollywood’s 2001 Space Odyssey.
      If they’re going to be dishonest enough to pass off their model “results” as real data from OCO, they might as well go all in.

  2. If CO2 is the” key driver” in global warming, and there is more ppm now, why hasn’t the globe warmed? Did the model answer that one?

    • The really scary part is not just that these erroneous models exist, but that they are designed to create false beliefs grounded in mesmerizing visual effects of how the world works to be used in K-12 coursework. It usefully makes the students ready to take action to promote causes they have been deliberately primed to misunderstand for that very purpose.
      It’s not just false modelling either. NSF has an organized education outreach to prime students to make false analogies for the same reason. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/cultivating-understandings-of-consequence-to-guide-daily-life-and-prompt-desired-behaviors/ explains that.
      Nothing trumps the desire to turn students into a dedicated cadre of transformational change ages. Plus the climate equivalents of Gruber want their cuts continued. Climate and ed grants from NSF are much more lucrative than hard science ones because there are virtually no fixed costs like running an experimental lab.
      It’s all just for advocacy for false ideas or lousy ones.

    • Clearly the oceans ate it and will soon swallow the world whole… once they actually start increasing their rate of rise, that is.

    • Yes, it is official – there is no Global Warming in Aurstrailia or South America, because ther is no Co2 there.
      Errr, sorry, did the other models confirm this? Why the rush to ‘modify’ the surface temperature record in Auz and NZ, if there is no warming there?
      Ralph

      • CO2 is actually heavier than air. If you hold the map upside down (right side up for southern hemisphere residents), CO2 settles properly.
        begrudging \sarc

    • I was about to point out that same deficiency in the model.
      I also noticed that Greenland appears to be a natural Carbon Sink as whenever the CO2 approaches it, it is either absorbed or somehow funneled around that island. It is unclear to me just how all that ice can suck up the CO2. Then something magical happens during the NH summer, the CO2 production appears to vanish and the CO2 is distributed worldwide and appears to dissipate in just months rather than the Years (decades/Centuries) touted by other science reports

      • Measured CO2 is HIGHEST above the deserts (Sahara, Gobi, Mongolia – but NOT central Australia ??), and LOWEST above the tropical jungles, the United States and Europe farmlands and plains.
        But that is NOT the message NASA-GISS wants to present, so they load up the United States and Europe as red and orange hotspots of obvious climate furnaces.
        By the way. Funny how this “global model” of very small resolution somehow morphs from a “grid” on a spherical global into a traditional NASA-GISS Mercator projection of uniform grid sizes emphasizing the Arctic RED and ignoring the Antarctic (white). They are propagandizing the 3% of all CO2 SOURCES that are man-made.

      • Here is one effect of all those co2 plumes. It’s a catastrophe! Why do Greens oppose greening?
        WUWT – July 8, 2013
        “Deserts ‘greening’ from rising CO2”
        “Satellite data shows the per cent amount that foliage cover has changed around the world from 1982 to 2010. Click for a full-sized and detailed image.”
        http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/high_resolution1.png
        ==============================
        WUWT – September 17, 2014
        “Another benefit of climate change and increased CO2 – trees continue to grow at a faster rate”
        https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/nature_biosphere1.jpg

  3. Hang on. I thought CO2 was heavier than air so why has it all gone to the top?
    Seriously, did they get paid for this? How can he speak of “one year of data” when there is no data?
    I know, rhetorical question. The “data”, of course, confirms their assumptions that were programmed into the model.

    • CO2 is sinking to the bottom of the map. We in the northern hemisphere have our maps upside down, you know.

      • What is the point of modeling, then?
        To put modelers on the public teat?
        Don’t we have enough of that already?
        And if the models and the data disagree, who gets the ax? the modelers or the satellite?
        Piss on NASA.

    • CO2 is going to the top due to the Top Ography
      Really though, It could be due to topography as Antarctica lies above Sea Level with the Highest Mountain in Antarctica being
      Vinson Massif: 16,066 feet / 4897 meters
      on the Antarctic Penninsula.
      The Arctic Basin is just that, An Ocean Basin surrounded by taller land masses that could act to funnel denser CO2 into the area

    • Due to the rotation of the earth gravity is higher at the polls. This must cause the CO2 to collect at the polls. This is every bit as good science as the study.

    • You are only on top of the world because we let you think so. The reality is different.
      [But only if one were speaking as an OZ or NZ or SA or … 8<) .mod]

  4. I think we are all saved!! These are actually good news!!! Now they can model extremely high CO2 concentrations and assign them a focal point on earth. They can get rid of all terrorists without using bombs and killing the population!!
    Also, they should be able to model it right out of the atmosphere and prevent global warming. They can now control the weather.
    I feel relief!

  5. We just have to wait for the actual CO2 measurements.
    The satellite is now almost ready to go, calibration has been completed.
    NASA will start publishing CO2 data from satellite measurements early next year.
    Then we can compare the modeling data and actual measurements.

      • I agree. However the forthcoming data from NASA will help greatly.
        I happen to be more interested in CO2 data than temperature data so I am anxious about the new OCO satellite data from NASA.

      • thats because it is a map of a
        1. a different time
        2. a different TIME SCALE
        3. a different resolution.
        4. a different altitude
        5. ANOMALIES
        6. a different methodology for ESTIMATING flux.
        So yes the apples are different than oranges.

      • I’m worried about the data being adjusted or outright fabricated before it’s ever released. How can we truly trust that it’s accurate?

    • “Then we can compare the modeling data and actual measurements.”
      And do what? Verify the satelite data is correct? Verify the model is correct? When they do not match is the satelite data tweaked, the model, both? is it to be used for forecasting? Forecasting what? How much CO2 is over New Jersey next July? Since we cannot even predict how much rain New Jersey will get next July, good luck with that. Long term forecasts? Like in how much CO2 over New Jersy in July of 2030? Yeah that makes sense every state should get their personal 30 year CO2 forecast. I am sure a lot of action items will come out of that.
      Maybe it is to learn how CO2 travels and works in the atmosphere except the model does not seem to do that as it appears to focus only on human generated CO2, hence the concentration in populated areas.
      It looks like there is nothing to learn from this model that is productive. It’s like climate porno, fun to watch, can be a thrill, but in the end is an empty experience.

  6. Is it possible that NASA doesn’t actually believe in CO2?
    That would explain how they can treat it like any other fictional thing – subject to their silicon whims.

  7. By that logic, the stimulus package led to a rapid recovery and sustained economic growth, and now 100% of Americans have affordable healthcare at [no] cost to the taxpayers. No need to look at the actual data, the models said it would be so.

  8. . Model simulations aren’t actual movements, you need hard tracking data for that. One wonders what sort of science mindset exists where they can substitute modeled output for actual data and publish a press release like this with a straight face.
    This is called insurance, if the probes don’t show the right data, the models are lined up to keep the message straight.

  9. Almost forgot, another reason for the model is to have a baseline to calibrate the satellite to. 😉

    • Thanks Steve.
      You’re probably right and I noticed no sarc tag.
      It’s bad enough Robin scares the hell out of me.
      I don’t think these people ever read or saw “1984”.

  10. “While the presence of carbon dioxide has dramatic global consequences, it’s fascinating to see how local emission sources and weather systems produce gradients of its concentration on a very regional scale,” said Bill Putman
    The presence of CO2 has dramatic global consequences…oh no shit?! Like being a key to all primary productivity on the planet? Ground breaking revelation chief.
    We have known about regional gradients of CO2 since the very first scientists began measuring them and found that even being down wind from a sheep farm would result in erroneous data, but this guy is fascinated by just finding this out through this very expensive computer game.
    Does this new model data now mean that they will stop comparing the paleo-CO2 record derived from Antarctica (where CO2 levels are lowest) to modern CO2 levels from Hawaii? Doubtful.

  11. I like how it’s a Mercator projections, so you can see the devastating amount of CO2 at the North Pole.
    Funny how Australia barely registered a blip. For years we were tole we were the worst polluters.

  12. “The carbon dioxide visualization was produced by a computer model called GEOS-5, created by scientists at NASA Goddard’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. In particular, the visualization is part of a simulation called a “Nature Run.” The Nature Run ingests real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases and both natural and man-made particulates. The model is then is left to run on its own and simulate the natural behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere. This Nature Run simulates May 2005 to June 2007.”
    this is known as testing the model.
    Now, see the word assimilation?
    once you have better observations, do you know what you do with them?

    • “simulate the natural behavior of the earth’s atmosphere”
      Another climate model stuck on the public teat.

    • Absolutely yes. It is a great demonstration of the power of visual aids to illustrate data, and also to hide the lack of it, or induce premature conclusions.
      There are other branches of science which benefit from such visual advantages: In rational drug design crystallographers often get the big grants and other necessary scientists then work for the crystallographer. I’m not dissing crystallographers, it is often immensely useful. But the pretty picture is what turns the heads.

      • It’s also helpful for people to NOT realize that, ta-da!, packing forces exist. Hey, let’s build a drug that will fit this receptor perfectly, and totally ignore that the crystal structure differs from the structure of the receptor in physiological aqueous solution.
        Garbage in, garbage out

  13. Since CO2 change has no significant effect on climate why spend resources to measure it or globaly monitor it.
    Everyone paying attention is aware that the planet average global temperature trend has been flat since before 2001 in spite of a CO2 increase since 2001 of 31% of the total increase 1800-2001. The two drivers that do explain the uptrends and down trends of climate change. (95% correlation since before 1900) are in a paper at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com

    • The influence of CO2 on temperature may be irrelevant.
      However, CO2 is our only gaseous fertilizer. We need it for food and forestation etc.
      From a multitude of experiments, we know that increasing the concentration of CO2 is very favorable to plant growth. Being able to measure it with precision like the new NASA satellite will do may help us greatly.
      In fact, looking at data of CO2 (from Hawaii) since 1958 and global food production from this date, look at the plots. No statistical analysis needed, just a good pair of eyes and a good brain reveals a perfect correlation: CO2 increase=food increase with no pause. Not that this is the only variable, obviously other factors were involved in increase production of food during this period of time.
      Also, how good is this info from a single station in Hawaii. I have no problem with the quality of the data from this station, but what does it represent? So, I am anxiously awaiting the forthcoming data. We will learn a lot.

      • Adding a bit to your assessment: Some have ventured estimates that crop yields have increased 15% due to CO2 increase. Also, some greenhouses artificially increase CO2 level (up to 1500 ppmv) to make the plants grow better.
        I did some research some years ago addressing the question of CO2 variability and concluded that it is ‘well mixed’ in the atmosphere and the level changes slowly. Several different sources, locations, times are graphed together in a paper that you can find by searching with key words pangburn middlebury.

  14. I looked at the NASA page. VERY nice pictures, full of conspicuous red – while the Southern hemisphere appears to be CO2 – free. Does anybody know a color code for CO2 concentration?

    • John Brignell at numberwatch calls it ’chartmanship’: “… chartmanship is the art of using graphs to mislead without actually cheating …”.
      Almost universally red means stop. Red means danger. Red means hot.
      A more objective color scheme (IMO) would be confined to the blue-green part of the spectrum, blue for lower CO2 concentration moving to green for higher.

  15. The computational and computer science community use the words “data” and “dataset” for results from computations. In physics, the word data is exclusively reserved for physical measurements. It is a dangerous misuse to apply word data to computational results. It is a common and totally incorrect mindset of computational scientists to equate the two. This model produces computational results not data.

    • Lots of confused scientists who don’t understand this elementary principle, Rick, and so one always hears “the model tells us”.

      • Well if it was not screaming RED, then we we wouldn’t know that CO2 is B A D. Really BAD, like emergency RED bad, like “Stop everything! The RED lights are flashing” BAD.
        CO2 like BAD like RED all have three characters, that’s not a coincidence. There is 97% consensus this coincidence is due to AGW.

  16. Thanks, Anthony.
    It is fascinating to watch models, they paint such interesting and colorful pictures.
    The CO2 obsession has had some good artistic outcomes. At what cost?
    It is not only the computers and the buildings and the salaries, but the distortion of the minds and world-views of people all over the world.

    • actually the codes will help to track transmission of fine particulate matter across international boundaries.
      This is a growing problem in Asia.

      • Fine particulate matter is not CO2. One of my neighbors burns wood I know fine aprtuculate matter.
        What is interesting is that you are not good at changing the subject.

  17. Another “bestest model evah”. Wow- 64X better! And a new label in “nature run”. I guess that makes it more “natural”?

  18. I’ve been saying for years that it’s just a Northern Hemisphere problem and now I’m going to get ‘the proof’.
    Even the current JAXA plots are looking good for Australia!
    What’s the UN address where I send in my application for compensation?
    And can I pick it up in the currency of my choice?
    Important questions to sort out here.

    • And that is precisely what will happen. For the Nature Run observations from 2005 were input into the model. Then the model is run forward in time. In a production mode the model would be continously assimilating observations to produce the best estimate for the entire planet.
      Assimilation is basically how a weather model works ( or a Kalman Filter in a simpler case)
      You start with the data. The data is put into a physics model rather than a stats model. Time is integrated forward until the next observation time. the physics behind the model insure that the states between data assimilation times are within known physical constraints ( something you cant always get with a stats model)

      • Since we are dealing with climate and not weather, get back to us in 20 years and let us know how the model is working out.

      • Except they are not saying that they are testing (aka validating) the model.
        They are saying (and this is bolded by Anthony, so I am not sure why you didn’t see it) that this output “is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide actually moves through the atmosphere”
        Did you notice the word actually? In their magical world, this particular model output is reality.

      • And apparently, they forgot to input the data for the southern hemisphere.
        Anyway, why it is so important to model CO2 levels? By looking at this century´s data, it does not seem to be correlated to temperatures.

  19. Back in ’70s, when Littlewoods Football Pools (in the UK) was the biggest thing, before the National Lottery I had to write six Fortran IV programmes for my exams (on an ICL 1900 series!!!). One of my programmes analysed the last 12 years of UK football league results (in-putted on paper tape!) and another ‘modelled’ the likely results for the current year’s fixture list: I’d written a Pools Prediction Program Model!
    Now, according to the ‘model’ (and they’re infallible, no?) I should have been able to retire with a fortune in the bank after modelling the results of the season: I won a total of £1:50 (about £20 today) in the season!!
    Models? Phtt. Of course, it might have had something to do with my programming skills…

    • Hi Harry,
      I am an old Singer System 10 techo – and your comments on modelling hypothetical concepts, really made me chuckle. It reminds of the old Peter Cook movie “The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer” it said it all. Well worth scratching it up…

  20. this makes me wonder about how the data from OCO-2 is being ‘processed’
    http://www.caltech.edu/content/checking-first-data-oco-2?CFID=fc5cafe6-93db-499f-b693-25585e8b5884&CFTOKEN=0
    “The data retrieval method that Yung and his colleagues designed for OCO-2 compares the light spectra collected by the satellite to a model of how light spectra would look—based on the laws of physics and knowledge of how efficiently CO2 absorbs sunlight. This knowledge, in turn, is derived from laboratory measurements made by Caltech professor of chemical physics Mitchio Okumura and his colleagues at JPL and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.”

    • Most satellite measurements are highly indirect. Gravity measurement, for example, is inferred from subtle changes in the satellite’s orbit. How satellite radar altimetry copes with waves to arrive at a millimeter precision is beyond me.

    • Thank you for providing the link. I cannot say that I understand how this calibration and final concentrations will be arrived at, but I am anxious to see the concentration gradient in the column, if indeed there is such a gradient. I can’t wait.

      • ” I am anxious to see the concentration gradient in the column, if indeed there is such a gradient.”
        If indeed. I’d be interested too.

  21. Scientists have made ground-based measurements of carbon dioxide for decades and in July NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite to make global, space-based carbon observations. But the simulation – the product of a new computer model that is among the highest-resolution ever created – is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide actually moves through the atmosphere.

    The operative words here are “but” and “actually”.
    They really do believe the simulation to be the ground truth or gold standard. And observational data to be of inferior status.
    It’s the un-Renaissance.

  22. Does anyone know if this satellite data will affect the price of fish? What difference will detailed knowledge of total column CO2 have on anything?

  23. It’s a combination of measured data and the model physics, as Steve Mosher alludes to, with continuous assimilation of weather data and CO2 source data. The flow patterns are probably pretty accurate, kind of like weather forecast model flows of total integrated water vapor, which have been done for many years. It’s just a visualization of how point atmospheric sources of anything end up flowing around the world…the new thing here is their estimates of CO2 emissions from various sources. Very cool visually, but of little consequence to the global warming issue.

    • Roy
      It’s crap. Your words “It’s just a visualization ” “the new thing here is their estimates of CO2 emissions from various sources” and lastly your really accurate point which says it’s crap ” of little consequence to the global warming issue”

    • Very cool visually, but of little consequence to the global warming issue.

      Mr. Layman here.
      I think the “fear” is that it will be “Gerbered” into something it is not. No matter what the satellite later shows, this model of “Carbon Pollution” will be twisted to try to hype-notize the public into supporting anyone who will continue the war on carbon.
      It’s a shame that something that may give an in-the-ball-park projection of anything is viewed with suspicion just because it came from a computer.
      Thank you, Hansen and the rest of CAGW Climate “Science”!

      • Typo
        “I think the “fear” is that it will be “Gerbered” into something it is not.”
        Should be:
        “I think the “fear” is that it will be “Grubered” into something it is not.”
        (They may feed us BS because they think we’re stupid, but we’re not babies. Babies grow up.)

    • Roy – do you know how many actual CO2 measurements went into this simulation. Did they do any out of sample measurements. How would they measure the CO2 over remote areas of the globe?

  24. Did I miss it, or did they forget the triumphal indication that the modeled results at the end of 2007 matched the actual measured results?
    Oh, I forgot! That’s not the point of this exercise, is it?

  25. Three things:
    1- I love that positioning the Americas on the left gives the initial visual impression that it’s all North America’s fault – as my eye observes it. I vote we have them put Europe on the left. We all know Europe is the real reason climate models do what they do anyways. Don’t question it. Just make it happen.
    2 – There’s always a lot of chatter on this and other blogs about Australia and their CO2 political issues, yet the model says they don’t have any. Can they finally put that all to bed, now that a model says so? It seems their resources would be better spent saving the world from their natural wildfires.
    3 – I’m glad the oceans doesn’t emit any CO2 in the model, that would make it unrealistic.

  26. I like it – it’s a very interesting visualization. They need to have fake data like this so that they can validate and exercise the ground stations in preparation for the real data. I would have preferred that a large sign was overlaid onto the video saying “not real data” but perhaps that would have cost too much 🙂
    The choice of colours was disappointing. Given that CO2 a) is a so-called “greenhouse gas” and b) causes vegetation to green-up, the obvious choice would have been to plot high CO2 concentrations in green rather than red. Perhaps a political decision?
    Note as well that in this simulation the CO2 appears to go to zero during the summer, but of course CO2 goes to “below average” during the summer. So they could have shown a more standard colour overlay where red means “CO2 below normal” and green means “CO2 above normal.”

  27. There’s nothing quite like “high res” garbage out. No more of that low-res garbage out stuff.
    Yes sirree, nothing says high quality, high-res garbage output from the boyz at GISS like another computer simulation without any validation against real world data.

  28. I have been looking in my crystal ball and it tells us….
    It tells me that this new satellite will provide a new source if alarms concerning CO2 so that the climateers can fabricate CO2 data, just as the altimetry satellite has enabled the University of Colorado to fabricate a sea level rise and the Grace satellite has enabled the fabrication of ice volume loss in Antarctica.

  29. From the video – “CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas affected by human activity”.
    I guess if he added,
    “…and human activity is only a tiny, teeny bit of the total CO2 produced on Earth and we have no idea why only human generated CO2 is not absorbed back into the system, but like to make that claim anyway.”
    That would put kind of a bummer spin on the video, like what in the world are they doing at NASA, are they idiots? No they are smart, but are like kids with toys who need to have their electronic toys taken away from them so they can go out in the world and do something productive.
    Sorry, no more super computers for NASA until they get a clue.

  30. CO2 is, of course, invisible. So what color do you use to illustrate in a simulation move? How about yellow, orange, red and brown, colors commonly used in the media for warm, hot, fire and dirty. Ah yes, that will impress the viewer that CO2 is a pollutant; a bad thing. It may seem unimportant to you, but it delivers a message to the casual viewer.

  31. This is what I want climate scientists to research, who is causing the Earth to tilt. Over here in North America it’s geting colder and colder and the days shorter and shorter. It sucks, don’t ski, not into it.
    I want answers climate science. Who is tilting the earth, how are they doing it???? You’ve saved us from ozone, you are saving us from CO2, you have stopped global warming, get on the ball now and stop the earth from tilting. Snap to it. Move!
    PS. I have a model of how the earth tilts if you want to borrow it.

  32. The main thing that all that beneficial CO2 is doing is this:
    http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/Deserts-greening-from-rising-CO2.aspx
    “Increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years through a process called CO2 fertilisation, according to CSIRO research.”
    Sunshine +H2O +CO2 = Sugars/Food + O2
    How absurd it is to argue with humans that think they know the perfect temperature of the earth and define it in terms of the temperature from 150 years ago. The debate is over how “bad” it is to exceed that perfect temperature by a certain amount. The debate (which was supposed to be settled a long time ago) has gone on for decades.
    There are all sorts of arguments for why increasing CO2 has already exceeded dangerous levels to life on this planet and it will only get worse.
    Plants and creatures doing the actual living on our planet, who can’t read models say otherwise.
    What would happen if we threw away global climate models?
    Many scientists might be forced to look at what is actually going on in the real world.

    • College students in Colorado, actually living on the planet have said otherwise.
      CO2 is good, they know it. Added already to their plant growing greenhouse. No need for modeling.
      They learned it from their high school science teachers. This is where the problem is, high school science teachers.

  33. This model, GEOS-5, is nothing new. Looks like it was developed at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) a decade or so ago. I’m guessing that the years of the simulation runs (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 etc) also represent the development years. So it’s hardly a “new portrait of carbon dioxide” from OCO-2.
    http://www.climatemodeling.org/~forrest/pubs/abstracts/Erickson_AGU_20091218.html
    But I’m guessing they could use GEOS-5 as a visualization tool as part of the processing and integration with atmospheric plume tracking software (data assimilation etc). But nothing seems to be mentioned about that.
    I am curious why we’re not seeing any of the data collected since July 2014. There have been various news releases about the first data downloads, and test data being collected. The latest news blurb, Oct 2, sounded like there’s at least 90 days of data.

    October 2, 2014
    NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Instrument Completes Checkout – 09.30.2014
    NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) will soon complete its first 90 days of operations in space. The spacecraft meets or exceeds all functional and performance specifications, and all planned instrument checkout activities have been completed. The instrument is making high-precision measurements, and data processing is proceeding on schedule.

    So, where are the promised plume tracks leading to sources and sinks of CO2?
    Clicking on the OCO-2 “ProductInfo” link (http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/science/ProductInfo/) we are informed that the data “will start coming in 45 days after the launch”.

    OCO-2 data will start coming in about 45 days after launch. Why this time delay? It takes some time and maneuvering to get the satellite positioned exactly where we want it to be, in the right position in the A-train Constellation. After that, the mission operations team carefully turns on all the components and does checks to make sure everything is working correctly. Only after that, will the instrument go into work mode and start collecting data. On OCO-2, the data are stored on board and the information is sent down in bundles during orbit. Data and information (telemetry) are sent back to Earth and “collected” by the ground stations. Once the data are collected, they will still need to be processed. OCO-2 data will be processed at the jet Propulsion Lab and the data is ultimately distributed and stored at the Goddard Earth Science Data & Information Services Center (GES DISC). If you would like to browse Sample Data files for OCO-2 public products, please visit Sample OCO-2 Data.

    But this is all in the future tense, so it is seriously outdated.
    Very little OCO-2 product data available, especially the latest 3km gridded xCO2 column data and the ‘sources and sinks’ data are both “N/A”.

    OCO-2 Data Products
    Level Data Product Data Rate
    1B Orbit granules of calibrated radiances 19.95 Gbytes/day 30 days
    L1|DP Orbit granules of calibrated radiances 1.70 Gbytes/day 18-19 days
    L2std Orbit granules of geolocated Xco2 0.54 Gbytes/day 18-19 days
    L2Dia Orbit granules of geolocated with additional sensitivity matrices Xco2 11.95 Gbytes/day 18-19 days
    3 Global Xco2 N/A N/A
    4 Global CO2 sources and sinks N/A N/A

    Are they having technical problems, or is the data being suppressed/ignored for other reasons?

    • Yes. And if they release data and something is wrong there will be “you see the bastards ….”
      There is no hurry. Why can’t we just wait. I am just tired, tired, tired of “the data are being suppressed/ignored!!!!!!
      So what if they are having technical problems. You never had any? Are you actually doing anything but sitting in your air conditioned office?
      We are about to get very important data. Give them the time to check and double check and triple check that everything is correct. Or are you and so many here on this post just waiting to get another hockey stick to bitch at.

      • > There is no hurry. Why can’t we just wait.
        Actually I’m a very patient fellow, but am very interested in tracking CO2 plumes. (I have tracked plumes on global scale for 30 years). So I am very disappointed because they said they would release data after 45 days, but are holding back for some reason.

        October 2, 2014
        NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Instrument Completes Checkout – 09.30.2014
        NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) will soon complete its first 90 days of operations in space. The spacecraft meets or exceeds all functional and performance specifications, and all planned instrument checkout activities have been completed. The instrument is making high-precision measurements, and data processing is proceeding on schedule.

        Everything is fine they say. So where is the promised data?
        Maybe it’s just website needs to be updated. (We know the US Govt is not very handy at maintaining websites).

    • Until we have many years, or even decades, of CO2 data to compare and do correlations with other factors (Mauna Loa data, LandSat ChlA-vegetation data) , it seems like we really won’t know what we are looking at in any meaningful way.

  34. It may be rather presumptuous on my part, but I also question the overall design of the OCO-2. Why did they decide to track the short-wave CO2 absorption bands (1.61 µ and 2.04 µ) which require reflected sunlight for detection. Thus imposing rather severe visibility constraints on the detection of CO2.
    Why didn’t OCO use the long-wave CO2 bands (4.3 µ and 12-18 µ), which can be viewed directly against the 288K black-body earth-shine?
    http://i58.tinypic.com/2ldul1z.png
    Color Key:
    Orange: O2 absorption ( 0.76µ reference used by OCO-2)
    Yellow: CO2 absorption (short-wave) used by OCO-2
    Green: CO2 absorption (long-wave)
    Blue: H2O absorption (6-7µ long-wave)
    Disadavantages of short-wave
    1. Requires sunlight (do daytime only)
    2. Very small signals (compared to long-wave)
    3. Channels shared with water vapor absorption bands
    Advantages of long-wave
    1. Already proven by GOES Channel 3 water vapor imagery
    2. Available day and night
    3. Stronger signal
    4. Less obscured by sharing with H2O absorption (4.3µ is a “clear channel” for CO2)
    My guess is that 4µ and 16µ imagers have already been tried for imaging CO2 and probably don’t show much CO2 (compared to H2O water vapor at 6µ). How does short-wave imagery improve the CO2 detection? Perhaps I’m overlooking something here.

    • Correction: One of the yellow circled OCO-2 bands (the left one) is wrong. The OCO-2 CO2 bands are 2.04 and 1.61 microns. So just shift the yellow ovals one band to the right.

      • Correction to the correction: Never mind. The yellow circles are correctly placed at 1.61µ and 2.04µ. Don’t know why they looked wrong last night.
        Look at that poor fellow at 1.61µ. Completely buried in H2O noise. At least the CO2 signal at 15µ is partially riding above the big H2O noise.
        Of course we clearly see why H2O dominates the so-called “greenhouse effect” (i.e. it explains atmospheric warming correctly, but that’s not how real ‘greenhouses’ are warmed).
        CO2 seems to be a ‘bit player’ at most. But let’s see some global OCO-2 renderings and we can make some better judgments about that!

      • I suggest you look at some real spectra rather than the cartoon version you’re showing. With the spacing of the lines the high resolution spectra used are well able to differentiate between the spectra. The optical depth of the H2O spectral are about two orders of magnitude less than that of the CO2 and the lines are much sparser.

    • I think the O2 absorption band (not on yur chart) read-out is the reference signal. Thus they needed downgoing Vis-IR.

      • The O2 line is at 0.76µ, orange circle above. I think its to help discriminate CO2 from H2O and aerosols (the CO2 bands are shared with H2O)
        They need down-welling visible light because the Earth doesn’t emit visible light on its own.
        But the Earth does shine on its own in the longwave IR spectrum. That’s why the satellites can see IR on the dark side.

      • True, but why not use the clear channel 4.3µ as a ‘reference’, then it should be possible to some further discrimination on the 15µ channel?
        That’s exactly what they’re doing with the OCO-2 shortwave channels, which are both blocked by H2O, so they use O2 as the reference signal. But it’s only useful in full sunlight.

      • Having a ‘reference’ channel won’t permit you to see deeper into the atmosphere. The bands chosen allow penetration to the surface, also at those wavelengths there is negligible thermal radiation from the surface and atmosphere to interfere with the signal. Of course in the 15micron band there is considerable thermal radiation. As a practical consideration using the 15micron band would require different optical m aerials and lenses.
        The shortwave channels are not blocked by H2O.

  35. “This will provide critical value for the design of Earth-orbiting satellite instruments.”
    Still doubts the satellite date will support the simulation poject?

    • If I understand correctly (from NASA’s cryptically worded article above) the modeling technique uses real surface and upper air wind data, integrated with gridded samples of some airborne substance.
      Actually this technique has been used elsewhere and works rather well. For example the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) group at the University of Wisconsin calls this technique ‘morphing’ and uses it to track that ‘other’ well-known GHG, water vapor from samples of absorption lines in the microwave spectrum. At such low frequencies they can compute the total precipitable water (TPW).
      So they morph the microwave data integrating with wind data to produce their model (MIMIC-TPW) which renders the movement of TPW over the earth. It’s not really a model in the sense that all of the data comes from external measurements, but the morphing is the secret sauce which makes it work. Works rather well as you can see yourself:
      http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mimic-tpw/global/main.html
      So I think that GEOS-5 is doing something similar to MIMIC-TPW. If GEOS-5 only used the real OCO-2 data it would be quite useful.

  36. “Bottom-to-top” models?
    There they go again.
    They need the Marvel Comics treatment (courtesy of Callisto): “You? AGAIN?! *WHAM!*
    (Like the army mule, one needs to get their attention first.)

  37. ‘I had at first thought that this press release from NASA Goddard was telling me that they had taken the data from their new Orbiting Carbon Observatory ‘ yes but that may have not given them the results they ‘need’ were as the models could certainly do that if used in the ‘right way ‘

  38. Looking at the MODEL one must wonder why the Aussies have bothered to spend billions on reducing their emissions, only a muppet would do that at the expense of jobs,or perhaps there is another “fix” in pay oops sorry play.

  39. In this video the color yellow represents 383 PPM and Red 385 PPM it seems like a lot of worrying over 2 PPM which is probably smaller than the margin of error. Plus its all still way under 400 PPM.

    • Plus, this animation always show the south pacific in green which is 381 PPM which is wrong Mauna Loa is currently at 395 PPM and should be pink, I don’s see any pink in the animation. Most of it is in the 381 PPM to 386 PPM range which is what levels were 10 years ago.

    • As Rosana Dana used to say “nevermind” but my point about there only being 2 parts per million between yellow and red still stands. Plus this shows it all collecting at the north pole which I’m pretty sure isn’t happening.

  40. Does anyone know how many actual atmospheric CO2 measurements are in the database? The only measurement I have seen quoted is the one from the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

  41. What struck me most was how much more red was the last frame (Dec 28) at the end of the video than was Jan 3 (at the beginning). I don’t think they have a handle on the physics and chemistry sufficiently to wrap the end of year to the beginning of year

    • Why do you expect that the pCO2 would be the same in December 2006 as it was in January 2006 when we know that during that year globally it increased by about 2ppm?

  42. Their CO2 model is total BS. The Japanese showed a couple of years ago that Europe and N America are net carbon dioxide sinks and that S. America and Africa are the main CO2 emitters. Clearly, they have a total bias against industry and totally ignore all the dung and wood being burned in the undeveloped regions.

    • ” all the dung and wood being burned in the undeveloped regions.” => “Their CO2 model is total BS
      So you agree (ignoring the burned wood) that the model does have some skill after all. 🙂

  43. If the model is to be believed, the fundamental assumption that CO2 is “well-mixed” in the atmosphere is false. Who knew?

    • My understanding of this is that CO2 is indeed “well mixed” in the atmosphere, but not perfectly mixed. So there are weak gradients created even by 1 or 2 percentage point differences. The sources and sinks are reconstructed by advection over these weak gradients.
      The proof of all this will be in the OCO-2 pudding. When and if they decide to make it public.

  44. I have to agree that NASA gives the impression that they are showing measured OCO-2 satellite data while they display stuff from elsewhere: https://co2.jpl.nasa.gov/#mission=OCO-2
    A 172 MB global OCO-2 file for the period 8/9/2010 – 8/24/2010 while the launch was in July 2014!
    Back to the Future is finally reality: today’s science has no limits.

    • I browsed the “co2.jpl.nasa.gov” link, trying to find some OCO-2 data to download. I was able to get some sample “prelaunch” data from 2010, in hdf5 format. Using HDFView it appears to be the 194 raw data variables in a matrix format. Probably, as the name implies, some dummy data generated pre-launch to allow researchers to write their analysis codes while waiting for the real thing. The samples were less than a 1 megabyte.
      https://co2.jpl.nasa.gov//build/#dataset=OCO2PreLaunch&product=FULL
      I also tried to download this ‘FULL’ product, also labeled ‘prelaunch’, but apparently a larger, 133 megabyte set. The web site generates a Python script for you which contains a list of 5 hdf5 files to download.
      But when I ran the script, it got a code:404 (file not found) on each file, but the script ignored the errors and tried to open the error report, thinking it was an hdf5, generating floating point divide-by-zero errors etc.
      So we can assume that the real OCO-2 data is not yet available. Why don’t they just say that, and stop pretending the prelaunch samples are the real thing.

  45. Most disturbing, as Anthony Watts points out, is this paragraph by NASA about its model: “But the simulation–the product of a new computer model that is among the highest-resolution ever created–is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide actually moves through the atmosphere.” “Actually”??? Not quite. Watts rightly says, “Uh, sorry, no. Model simulations aren’t actual movements, you need hard tracking data for that. One wonders what sort of science mindset exists where they can substitute modeled output for actual data and publish a press release like this with a straight face.”
    But what we’re seeing here–the failure (inability created by habit?) to distinguish model from real world–is common to much of the AGW (and especially CAGW) scientific community, as Myanna Lahssen documented through years of observation and interviews with modelers at NCAR. See her article “Seductive Simulations? Uncertainty Distribution around Climate Models” (http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-1891-2005.49.pdf). She found that NCAR scientists consistently and persistently spoke of their models as if they were the real world; of their models’ output as if they were real-world observations; and genuinely couldn’t keep the distinction clear in their minds.

  46. (Quote) “One wonders what sort of science mindset exists where they can substitute modeled output for actual data and publish a press release like this with a straight face.”
    Anthony, maybe this is an extension of the simulations they have used in spaceflight coverage (in lieu of actual footage). The general public will have come to perceive this as reality over time.

  47. If anyone is still interested in this video, I have made a re-rendering of it (http://youtu.be/D_EjLowB-7M) with the flat map re-mapped onto a globe. (actually a pair of globes with North and South poles visible).
    If nothing else it is pretty computer art. Also it was a exercise in using Blender, so I got at least that much out of it.
    {Thank you, good job. .mod]

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