#AGU14 NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory shows surprising CO2 emissions in Southern Hemisphere

 Global Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from Oct. 1 through Nov. 11, as recorded by NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. Carbon dioxide concentrations are highest above northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil. Preliminary analysis of the African data shows the high levels there are largely driven by the burning of savannas and forests. Elevated carbon dioxide can also be seen above industrialized Northern Hemisphere regions in China, Europe and North America. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from Oct. 1 through Nov. 11, as recorded by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. Carbon dioxide concentrations are highest above northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil. Preliminary analysis of the African data shows the high levels there are largely driven by the burning of savannas and forests. Elevated carbon dioxide can also be seen above industrialized Northern Hemisphere regions in China, Europe and South America and Africa. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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.”

To learn more about OCO-2, visit:


Caltech manages JPL for NASA.


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Warm ocean liberates carbon dioxide. Biomass liberates CO2


Agree and most CO2 is volcanogenic do not forget.

Robert of Ottawa

This is my future hypotheses at 2.41 PM


What about night? All photosynthesizers respire at night, and don’t consume CO2. Is there any way to get the elevation of the CO2 detected, perhaps from different angles on different orbits? From the image, looks like winter shuts down plant life pretty well. And humans seem to have little impact in comparison, despite furiously burning fossil fuels to stay warm. Stake through the heart of AGW?

Wouldn’t it be interesting if we found that most of the CO2 being emitted was from burning biomass, basically the fuel fossil fuels replace? Even burning a forest to create a fertilized field can be replaced with fertilizer created with natural gas and nitrogen from the air using electricity from coal.


Interesting? YES – Surprising? Certainly NOT.
Only a rank CAGW trough-dweller would be surprised. Those of us who live where annual biomass burning occurs are definitely NOT surprised.
And here’s a big tip NASA et al, SEA’s burning season is next in about 4-6 weeks. Gadzooks, wow Batman – “new” DATA is on the way.


Lewis P Buckingham December 20, 2014 at 11:54 am “Interestingly the Hawaii CO2 measuring site for ‘well mixed global CO2′ sits right on a plume of biomass CO2, making the readings there a non proxy for the world CO2 levels. So we can add volcano emitted to biomass burned CO2 to artificially hype the results from Hawaii.”
Not true. I used to think that myself. What a dorky place to put a CO2 measuring station. Right beside an active volcanoe! But I was wrong. The chap who designed it took that into account and because of the inversion any CO2 from the volcanoe would be near the ground. He smartly had 2 sensors take readings, one low and one up high. If they disagree then they knew that days reading was bust. He also set it up to take readings at night when the wind comes from thousands of feet high down instead of from ocean to island like it does during the day.
Very well thought out and designed setup.

I would call BS on the premise that all of that CO2 is from biomass burning. Too widespread and too concentrated in the tropical rainforest zones. The emissions are much higher than in North America and Europe so if their premise is correct, the the largest component is not human emissions.

James Strom

You are probably right. I no longer have the links, but while global maps of wild fire show some similarity to this carbon dioxide map, the fires are nowhere near as extensive as the areas of elevated CO2 concentration shown here.

Ian W

Trees and plants have respiation too and give off CO2 edpecially noticeable during the night when photosynthesis halts. It is hardly surprising that the densest concentations of life on the planet are net sources of CO2. Note the ‘great satan’ and China do not appear yo be sources of CO2 to any great extent. Seems AGW may be being falsified subject of course to ‘adjustments’.

I was wondering about the atmospheric patterns that allow for the pooling of CO2 that are so prominent on the graphic. Additionally I am curious of the readings at Mauna Loa and other instrumentation as compared with the satellite.
If CO2 actually behaved to the extent the Global Warming enthusiasts postulate, they would obviously have to adjust their models to reflect the obvious disparate CO2 concentrations and coverage. What are their plans to do so in their Climate models?


I need a tax rebate based on that map!

Bill Illis

I think this new data just catches a certain, very short, period of the year when northern hemisphere CO2 is lower and spring biomass burning/something else puts the greatest CO2 outgassing in the southern Amazon and southern African equatorial.
By the following month, starting mid-November or so, northern hemisphere numbers go back up and the southern hemisphere diminishes to below the global average.

Robert of Ottawa

That’s not what this map says. This graph averages over longitude. This map shows longitudinal variations.

Robert, this map takes a snapshot at the time when northern hemisphere levels are at their seasonal low. Has been known for years.

“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.”
So what about the oft repeated alarmist claim that carbon isotopes point to a human cause of increased atmospheric CO2?


The media hype preceding the launch of OCO-2 told us that their instruments would be able to identify and track the exact source(s) of all CO2 in the atmosphere.


I don’t recall reading that. Everything I read indicated that the main OCO2 data product would be the total CO2 column count, and that additional external processing would be required to compute the sources and sinks.
That makes sense. Measuring a density or intensity value of a sample doesn’t give you much information about the provenance of that sample. That requires a sophisticated tracking system, with a database of wind information and other environmental parameters over time.
Where did you see that OCO2 would calculate sources and sinks on board?
I look forward to seeing the results of this analysis, because, for the first time, we may have a quantified measurement of the AGW component of the atmosphere (if it really exists). Hopefully, not another model spitting out what its creators wanted it to say.

Robert of Ottawa

Looks like the oceans are a big sources, under the Sun. I wonder why?

Gail Combs

Yes but note that most is in the warm southern hemisphere where the short wave radiation warms the oceans except for the big red blob hanging over China and also the one hanging over Washington State.
Also note the large red blob in the Greenland/Iceland volcanic area.

The revenue generating mystery novel needs a mysterious, and changing villain if the public is to be constantly coaxed into dispensing hard earned money.

Tom, the satellite doesn’t measure isotopes, it only measures total CO2. But if you look at the isotopes (taken at many places on earth), there is a firm decline in “heavy” 13CO2. That has two main possible sources: new biological carbon and fossil biological carbon (and maybe some a-biological too). But the biosphere as a whole is a net sink for CO2 (~1 GtC/year), thus not the cause of the 13C decline…
The decline of 13C exactly follows human emissions, be it at about 1/3rd of the theoretical decline, if it all remained in the atmosphere. As there is a lot of exchange with other reservoirs, mainly the deep oceans, a large part of the low-13CO2 from burning fossil fuels is replaced by high-13CO2 from the oceans.
Drought (in the tropics) also shows up both in the CO2 rate of change as in the 13C rate of change: while the rate of change increases during an El Niño, the 13C rate of change drops and vv., but that are temporarily wiggles which last maximum 2-3 years. Anyway, those wiggles are clearly caused by vegetation (decay goes on while growth is suppressed), but on longer term, vegetation is a net sink for CO2 and preferably 12CO2, leaving relative more 13CO2 in the atmosphere…

“Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has no distinguishing features to show what its source was.”
So then the quote from the post is not factual? We can measure atmospheric CO2 and precisely determine its source?

Not (yet) for today’s satellite, but if the data are getting more and more accurate and the satellite has features to concentrate on “hot spots” like populated areas or forests, the possibilities of exact source/sink determination are increasing.
About determination of the global source, here two graphs that show the influence of vegetation and humans:
This shows the opposite δ13C and CO2 rate of changes, slightly after the temperature variations: CO2/δ13C follow temperature changes as can be seen for the 1998 El Niño in opposite ways. That shows that the (tropical) forests are the main cause of both changes. If the extra CO2 increase was from the oceans, the CO2 and δ13C changes would be in the same direction, as the δ13C level from oceanic CO2 is higher than of the atmosphere.
Over longer term, humans are the cause of the δ13C decline, as the contribution from the biosphere and oceans is positive in δ13C:

Jaakko Kateenkorva

Tom, the satellite doesn’t measure isotopes, it only measures total CO2. But if you look at the isotopes (taken at many places on earth), there is a firm decline in “heavy” 13CO2. That has two main possible sources: new biological carbon and fossil biological carbon (and maybe some a-biological too). But the biosphere as a whole is a net sink for CO2 (~1 GtC/year), thus not the cause of the 13C decline…

Whether OCO2-mission measures carbon isotopes or not, the OCO2-images are currently questioning western civilization as the main source of CO2. At least UK seems to be a carbon sink currently.
It’s not the only reason why IMO there is little point pinning 12C sources on fossil biological carbon. 12C is reputed the 4th most common element in our solar system. It is pretty safe to claim that most of it is inorganic – at least according to NASA there are no fossils in Mars. Biosphere is not a very big share of Earth’s mass. Assuming so fundamentally different 12C rules on Earth only undermines the confidence in the anthropocentric understanding of the processes, including carbon sinks.

Jaakko, don’t jump to conclusions based on only 1.5 months of data…
The main CO2 movements in/through the atmosphere are over the seasons: some 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere is exchanged with CO2 from other reservoirs. The point is that this is exchange, while human CO2 is additional and the natural cycle is slightly more sink than source (about halve the human input).
The isotope measurements are interesting, as they look at the ratio of the heavy 13C isotope (about 1% of total C) and the lighter 12C isotope. As plants use preferentially 12CO2 over 13CO2, the 13C/12C ratio is (much) smaller in plants (and who feed on plants) than in the atmosphere. As all coal and most oil and gas were made by bio-life, these have a (much) lower 13C/12C ratio than what is measured in the atmosphere.
The difference between the two main sources can be made on the presence of radioactive 14C (absent in fossil fuels: too old) and the oxygen balance: some less oxygen is used than expected from fossil fuel burning. Thus the biosphere as a whole is a net absorber of CO2 and preferentially 12CO2…
Almost all abiotic CO2 has a slightly higher 13C/12C ratio than the atmosphere: oceans, volcanoes, carbonate rocks… Therefore one can know which one of the two is dominant, besides the human addition.
The mix in the atmosphere didn’t change much over ice ages: a few tenths of a per mil, until the past 160 years, which means that the pre-industrial CO2 changes were dominated by the oceans, but since ~1860, humans emissions are increasingly dominant, both in the atmosphere and the ocean surface layer:


Glaciers started melting about 1850. We did that too? I think not.There are natural 13C sources. Correlation does not demonstrate causality.

Hoser, there are only two known huge sources of low 13C: new organics and fossil organics. All other known sources are higher in 13C level than the atmosphere. Thus as the 13C/12C ratio of the atmosphere is in free fall, that is either from fossil fuels burning or from burning about 1/3rd of all land vegetation…
From the oxygen balance we know that land vegetation is increasing: the earth is greening…

Thank you Ferdinand. In Dr. Tim Balls post today on WUWT I’m came across this link from a comment on C12/13 https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-trouble-with-c12-c13-ratios/

Robert Wykoff

I demand 100 billion dollars a year from southern Africa

Weren’t we told that CO2 is uniformly mixed in the Atmosphere??? Have any of the foundational supports of AGW been correct???
Fortunately, using a hockey stick for Hockey is a very entertaining and exciting event!!!


CO2 is “well-mixed” in the atmosphere. But not perfectly. OCO2 is chasing faint gradients in that mixture, which vary only a few parts per million. That explains why they need the elaborate O2 reference data to detect these gradients.

Nigel Harris

The color scale on the map ranges from 387 to 402 ppm. So yes, it is well mixed.

Robert of Ottawa

Yes, but we all can see that the CO2 concentrations do not depend much on human geography (except China) but on angle of insolation.

Robert, you are looking at 1.5 months of data, where the oceans in the SH are starting to warm up, the (estimated) carbon cycle from/to the oceans is ~90 GtC/year in and out. The opposite movements of the biosphere are ~60 GtC/year out and in. Net effect +/- 5 ppmv (10 GtC) plus and min at sea level in the NH and +/- 0.5 ppmv in the SH. See the map provided by Hans Erren, December 20, 2014 at 9:40 am…
Humans emit ~10 GtC/year, but that is one-way additional, spread over a year or about 0.005 ppmv/day. It will be a hell of a job for the satellite to detect these differences, even if most of the emissions are concentrated near surface and smaller parts of land…

In Brazil, biomass burning of tropical forests provides for increased agriculture., Unfortunately, the soil is so thin that crops quickly exhaust its fertility. This is purely anecdotal, but I’ve seen large expanses of abandoned crop land returning to secondary growth that may never rival the diversity and habitats of the original growth.
Biomass smoke pollution in the tropics and south of the equator dwarfs air quality problems in the US. The peak of the burning season in Brazil is August-September. During two separate trips for the Goddard Space Flight Center (1995 and 1997), I measured various atmospheric parameters from the ground using sun photometers and radiometers. On some days the smoke was so thick it was necessary to use a magnifying lens to find the faint image of the sun in the Microtops II viewfinder. One day the smoke was so thick at Alta Floresta that planes could not land at the regional airport. On that day the solar UV-B index was at or near zero all day. UV-B suppresses airborne microorganisms, hence my hypothesis that the reduced UV-B caused by thick smoke might explain some of the increase in respiratory illnesses during burning season (Forrest M. Mims III, Avian influenza and UV-B blocked by biomass smoke (letter), Environmental Health Perspectives 113, A806-7, 2005).


Something in your comment doesn’t make sense to me. If the original growth in Brazil does not exhaust the soil’s fertility, then why would it need fertility to return? Either original growth is magical, or it, too, draws from the soil’s fertility. You can’t have it both ways.


I can’t say for sure but the original growth isn’t harvested and taken away. It dies where it grew and returns the nutrients to the soil. If you grow crops, harvest them and ship them away, the nutrients aren’t returned to the soil.


Purely a layman’s observation from northern Peru, but I have been in there quite a few times and listened to local explanations. There are generally 3 or four layers of canopy, all of which shed dead leaves and stuff which becomes a mulch the trees live off of. The topsoil is extremely thin, and everyone challenges you to find a rock – there aren’t any. Apparently there is so little geologic activity that there is no local source of soil nutrients, what new nutrient rich soil there is actually comes from dust storms in Africa. So in a sense the jungle is slowly cannibalizing itself, but held in balance in good part by the arrival of Saharan dust.
When you burn it and carry the crops away instead of leaving them to rot, the cycle is interrupted.
Disclaimer – I learned all of the above from an uncredentialed native who lives in a grass hut while I was trading him a Swiss Army knife for a cool blowgun and curare tipped darts. We had monkey for lunch….

In old growth rain forest all the nutrients are returned to the soil by plant death and decomposition. In agriculture the nutrients are depleted when crops are harvested and shipped elsewhere.

There are two factors. In the rain forest, everything is getting rcycled in situ, as pointed out above. But there is a second factor. Once the canopy is removed, erosion starts. And even if erosion is checked, the micronutrients get leached from the soil during the rainy season. It is the leaching that does the most harm to slash and burn agriculture in the tropics.

Crispin in Waterloo

Almost all the nutrients are above the ground. Some Amazonian plants like Jacaranda trees drop a lot of sugary sap from their flowers (a lot). This sugar feeds soil microbes that break down otherwise unavailable P and K and when the bacteria die they make it available to the trees. Sugar fertilisation is used in India. It was invented (I think) by Dr AD Karve.
The whole system is slashed and burned and farmed without reproducing the natural system so it shrivels, nutritionally. Leaving it to itself doesn’t bring back the lost CHO that existed in the lost canopy.

Robert of Ottawa

Isn’t the Amazon basin alluvial? No one can find rocks? And yet the soil is thin? I am not a geologist, but something is amiss here. As to agriculture, the local tribes used cut and burn for generations, and moved on when the soil was exhausted.
With modern farming practices, the soil would not become infertile.


“Isn’t the Amazon basin alluvial? No one can find rocks? And yet the soil is thin? I am not a geologist, but something is amiss here.”
Nothing amiss. The ground is either extremely leached laterite or arena blanca, equally leached sand, with just a few centimeters of decaying organic matter on top.
As for long-term agriculture in the Amazon it is possible, but only in the annually flooded varzea zones along the rivers where the water continually adds new minerals frome the Andes. These areas were almost completely cultivated up to the sixteenth century when newly intoduced Old World diseases killed off most of the population.
“With modern farming practices, the soil would not become infertile.”
Very doubtful. It would require massive inputs of fertilizer since leaching would be extreme, and the soil erosion problem may well be insoluble. Large-scale agriculture is practicable in the drier cerrado south of the rainforest, and today the threat to the cerrado biome is much acute than to the rainforest, but cerrado terrain is less spectacular and newsworthy than rainforest.

James Harlock

It’s because of the laterite soil that underlies tropical rain forests. It does not contain the nutrients for plant growth that the thin topsoil holds, and the heavy rains leech-out what little seeps down from the topsoil. Once the topsoil is depleted, one or two seasons, there’s nothing left for the plants.


A little off topic but several years ago I was in a Central American village of dirt floor shacks and a filthy open sewer beside the road. Nowadays, even people living in those conditions have a TV. Anyway, some kids came up to me and started asking if the U.S. was really as filthy and polluted as they heard on television. “Polluted with what?” I asked as I watched a turd float by. “CO2!” they said, “You can’t see it but it kills you…”


Good story

Steve Lohr

Excellent remark. I have to add, however, there was a time not so long ago when you could observe turds floating down the Ohio River, and probably many other rivers in the US. Now, I don’t think so.

In Brazil, biomass burning of tropical forests provides for increased agriculture., Unfortunately, the soil is so thin that crops quickly exhaust its fertility. This is purely anecdotal, but I’ve seen large expanses of abandoned crop land returning to secondary growth that may never rival the diversity and habitats of the original growth.
Adding carbon to the soil is a good thing in the Amazon basin (and most likely everywhere), it increases the soils fertility allowing more needed agriculture to be performed less invasively. The immense surface area of carbon granules provides the soil bacteria and fungi plenty of places to colonize and allow the higher plants to increase their uptake of both micro and macronutrients.

Terra preta (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈtɛʁɐ ˈpɾetɐ], locally [ˈtɛhɐ ˈpɾetɐ], literally “black earth” or “black land” in Portuguese) is a type of very dark, fertile anthropogenic soil found in the Amazon Basin. Terra preta owes its name to its very high charcoal content, and was made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil. It is very stable and remains in the soil for thousands of years. Terra preta

A simple change from slash and burn to slash and char would make the soils much more fertile

Lawrie Ayres

Forests are essentially a closed system that benefit from additives such as atmospheric CO2 and water. The higher the CO2 concentration the more the forest will grow but more slowly than say a crop of soybeans or palm oil both of which use vast resources over short growing cycles with the produce harvested and shipped out of the area. Many parts of the Amazon benefit from flooding which delivers nutrients from the Andes for example. Slash and burn agriculture uses very small areas, usually less than an acre, which is rapidly re grown when cultivation ceases. The clearing for commercial cropping is on a vast scale of thousands of acres and regrowth will take many decades. Note how the temples of central America were totally overgrown when discovered in the last few decades. Regrowth is a staged process with colonising species in the beginning followed by gradually more stable and diverse species. Time heals.


@Robert. As i said, my only experience is in northern Perú along the Ecuadoran border, specifically at drill sites where the only way in is by helicopter. Yes, there are no rocks, unless you count the material coming out of the borehole and settling into the mud sump.
The area is cris-crossed by serpentine tributaries to the Amazon, and the water in those is very muddy. Where the mud comes from I don’t know. I imagine most of the water just comes from rainfall, but there are also tributaries that start high in the eastern Andes. The river that runs by the base of Machu Picchu is typical of those; but the water in them is crystal clear until it arrives at the jungle at the base of the mountains.
That’s all I know, unless you want to learn how to shoot monkeys with a blowgun. 😉

When, Oh when, are they just going to QUIT TALKING ABOUT MODELS…….Man, it just infuriates my scientific sensibilities. This is data. Get over it.

Gunga Din

Hmmm….Mr. Layman here. It seems that the highest concentrations are over less developed nations. And while the reddish is mostly over land and there’s an awful lot yellow over water.
How many ships still burn coal?

Most burn oil, but most likely the carbon emissions would be similar to coal, although perhaps not soot.


Is that high co2 just below Greenland?


I wondered about that, too. Could be this new satellite is a flop.

mpainter, or it could be that this new satellite will let us discover things we never knew before.


That S. Greenland is a source of CO2?
Please let me know when you can explain that one.

Greenland volcanoes maybe? Iceland is very active.

Lawrie Ayres

Could it be outgassing along the tropics?

AFAIK, none of the GCMs actually model CO2 emissions and spatially varying concentrations. The owners and operators seem to think they do not need to. They take the presumed net effect at the TOA, and deploy that into the models as an ‘external forcing’. That’s delightful for the modellers since no end of things could be included in that way with modest extra coding required. But is it good enough?


The high CO2 below Greenland is from warm Gulf Stream water meeting cooler water from the North.
(layman guess 🙂 )

Robert of Ottawa

The models are of a kindergarten variety, the sort of model a 10 year old child would come up with.


Be aware that when you’re looking at OCO2 products that show CO2 clouds moving over the earth, that you are looking at the output of the GEOS-5 “simulator” (that’s how NASA characterizes it). It essentially integrates the total CO2 column data produced by OCO2 with archived local winds to estimate the CO2 transport from each location.
It’s an ‘estimate’ because there’s really no way to prove that the CO2 was actually transported exactly as the simulation shows. But it’s a reasonable guess of how the gases would be transported, if the CO2 parcels were simply advected by local winds.
But I suppose other mechanisms (absorption, diffusion, convection, etc) might show the actual ‘transport’ of CO2 differently.
I’m hoping that someone is validating the accuracy of these visualization models.

“The OCO-2 mission will not, however, directly measure CO2 sources and sinks. Instead, sophisticated computer-based data assimilation models that use column averaged dry air CO2 mole fraction (Xco2) data will infer the location of these sources and sinks.”
I’d like to know how they’re supposedly pulling CO2 absorption spectra out of the middle of H2O’s absorption spectra with a resolution of a couple of PPM. I believe that once again we have a system whose purported sensitivity and accuracy are, in my mind, somewhat overstated… or inferred from averaged assimilation models of something that doesn’t exist in anything other than a computer model. (Sorry, sophisticated computer model, no backwoods hick models on this bird.)


You’ve got it wrong about using H2O spectra.
Acutally, they’re pulling the CO2 absorption data from the short-wave CO2 absorption lines (1.6 and 2.04 microns) and then using O2 spectra for further calibration, to compute these very faint gradients: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/18/who-needs-an-orbiting-carbon-observatory-when-you-can-model-of-carbon-dioxide/#comment-1792744
The term ‘data assimilation’ refers to numeric weather models, like WRF, which can track weather (and other stuff) over time, while assimilating new data. This will provide the tracking information for computing sources and sinks. Hopefully they’re not just advecting winds, but also looking at things like soil absorption, diffusion and other modes of transport and sequestration.

Johanus, you need to look at water’s spectra again. Both those bands in CO2 they’re looking at are in water’s spectrum and there’s several thousand times more water in the atmosphere than CO2. You should also do a bit of reading on this bird’s data. It looks like the Nancy Pelosi of satellites, you have to launch it before we can tell you how it’s going to measure anything. My problem with it is the purported accuracy and the fact that the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere is not an important metric. I would rather see them spending money on hurricane and tornado models than this boondoggle.


…look at water’s spectrum again
Actually I raised this same objection in an earlier post, but was informed by another reader, who appears to be very knowledgeable, that apparent overlap is not a problem, using a spectral database with finer details:
… Nancy Pelosi of satellites …
I think ‘Rube Goldberg of satellites’ might be a more accurate description. Yes, the notion of resolving spectral lines in reflected sunlight does seem unnecessarily complicated. But the initial results indicate that is working, so hard to argue against success. Time will tell if this success can be sustained for the entire mission. I hope it succeeds because this is an important mission (see below).
Why not use the much simpler notion of just recording direct long-wave IR from the 4 micro band for example? I haven’t received a good answer to that question yet. But I suspect that it has been tried (because it’s such an obvious thing to do). So, I’m guessing, there’s not enough CO2 in the air to allow detection of the rather faint density gradients. Without the gradients the source/sink plumes might not be visible, because CO2, unlike H2O vapor, is rather well-mixed in our atmosphere.
CO2 concentration in our atmosphere is not an important metric.
I disagree. It’s a very important issue because of the way it is being politicized, and used to manipulate economic and social policies. OCO2 perhaps can shed some true light on this misuse of science.

Johanus, so if the wind were lets say 0 mph, the CO2 output from that location would be zero too?


No. Advection is just one of the possible transport models that could be used to analyze OCO-2 data.
The OCO-2 spacecraft itself has no builtin transport models, so relies on external tools to do further analysis. I mentioned GEOS-5 only because it is the only tool that the OCO-2 team has mentioned. I don’t know how it works internally, but visually you can see the advection.
Data Assimliation (WRF etc) would make more sense in this context. It can do advection and a lot more:
So, to answer your question, returns the total calibrated CO2 column for each location it analyzes. Period.


The OCO-2 spacecraft returns the total calibrated CO2 column for each location it analyzes. Period.

Tom in Florida

The map clearly shows ebola reduces CO2.

David S

Well this is an interesting kettle of fish. There appears to be large patches of red in what seems to be the middle of the ocean; One north of New Zeeland, another East of Japan, west of Australia, west of Indonesia, west of south Africa. I don’t imagine there are many SUVs or coal fired power plants in those places. Watts up with that?


Advection of CO2 detected on land. The GEOS-5 simulation software (apparently) assumes the local winds carry the CO2 by simple advection whereever the wind blows.

David S

Johanus. Wind seems plausible in the case of the red to the east of Southern Africa. There is a clear trail from the red on the land to the red over the ocean. But what about the red areas to the east of Australia or east of Japan. There is no trail from a land based red area to the one over the ocean. How does the CO2 get from the land area to the ocean area without passing through the area in between?


From what we’ve been told, OCO2 can measure CO2 concentrations directly over oceans using “glint” mode. But it’s complicated, requiring additional maneuvering of the spacecraft.
So I’m guessing at this stage they haven’t fully sampled the globe yet, but have some capability to ‘forecast’ ocean concentrations that have been transported from land using the GEOS-5 tool. But like any forecast, subject to error, especially if the oceans are sourcing the CO2 by outgassing etc.
Looking at the press conference (http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/56616757, about 11 minutes in) you can see them using the GEOS-5 tool to show transport off of Africa. Also the tool generates a lot of advection in the Pacific, east of Japan.
Remember that the advection is induced using archived local winds, in this GEOS-5 ‘simulation’ mode. It’s not necessarily a real observation. (OK, you ‘model haters’ can moan now). But (trusting the science abilities of these guys a bit more than some of you) I think these kinds of tools can be useful in validating the OCO-2 system using data assimilation to forecast where the CO2 should appear then using real OCO-2 observations to validate the forecast. It’s not rocket science. (Weather science actually.)
But the stuff east of Oz looks like it might actually be CO2 detected by “glint” observation (looking at the Glint Mode slides of the presentation). Just guessing. More info should appear on the 30th when they release the first batch of “public” data.


In Australia, the elevated CO2 is due to the bloviating of the local species of harropz.


Where was Barry during the Sydney Siege? I missed him.


These maps show a lot of CO2 over the southern oceans. Do these maps give any credence to the theory that the rise in CO2 is from ocean warming?

John S.

Volcanic action.


Nope. No way CO2 from seabottom volcanoes can get into the atmosphere, it would be absorbed on the way.
It would ultimately come to the surface in upwelling areas, perhaps a thousand years later. Some of the red blobs out in the oceans, e. g. west of Namibia and off the Aleutes are probably due to upwelling and warming of CO2-rich deep water.

Jim G

Most of the SH is ocean, so that was my first thought. Warming oceans=more CO2. Also thought about under sea volcanic origins both for additional heat and volcanic CO2. I also thought we were told this new system could peg the origin of the CO2?.

Indeed warming oceans in spring, but that is just part of the seasonal cycle. Have a new look in Austral fall/winter, and make the average after a full year of data…


does it have to be burning biomass? could it also be decaying biomass?

Silver ralph

So the answer to the so-called ‘problem’ of CO2 is simple. Allow third world nations to burn more oil and coal, to elevate their economies to a level where they don’t need to use slash-and-burn agriculture. Problem solved……. 😉
Mind you, with the UK’s 4gw Drax power plant being converted into a wood-burning stove, there will soon be a big red spot located over Yorkshire. So if you are driving across the USA, and wondering where all your forests have gone, well now you know.

Robert of Ottawa

converted into a wood-burning
An absolutely insane policy, brought to you by the smartest of Oxford and Cambridge.

Dan in California

Wood is a crop, replanted and replaced just like corn or wheat. Exported wood for fuel typically comes from managed private property. Here’s one article on that:
But I do agree that burning wood for the supposed environmental reasons leaves out several important factors, such as the cost of cutting, pelletizing, and transporting the fuel.

Dan in California

Here’s another article on the wood-as-fuel industry with a similar message. It’s a very different operation in the US South, rather than the other article describing the US Northwest.


The way the environmentalists talk the oil sands in Alberta should be redder than Santa. But the truth is not so much.


Maybe too many termites:
Termite and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Facts:
Termites produce more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) each year than all living things combined.
Scientists have calculated that termites alone produce ten times as much carbon dioxide as all the fossil fuels burned in the whole world in a year.
Pound for pound, the weight of all the termites in the world is greater than the total weight of humans.
Scientists estimate that, worldwide, termites may release over 150 million tons of methane gas into the atmosphere annually. In our lower atmosphere this methane then reacts to form carbon dioxide and ozone.
It is estimated that for every human on Earth there may be 1000 pounds of termites.
On the average Termites expel gas composed of about 59% nitrogen, 21% hydrogen, 9% carbon dioxide, 7% methane, and 4% oxygen.
It is thought “There are 2,600 different species of termites, and it is estimated that there are at least a million billion individual termites on Earth, that they emit two and four percent of the global carbon dioxide and methane budget, respectively-both mediated directly or indirectly by their microbes.


That’s very interesting.
I once heard a speaker say that humans do affect the climate, but so termites, cows and trees. I just didn’t realise what climate changers these little termites are.

richard verney

ants and termites are claimed to emit more CO2 than man.
The greens are not up in arms about that because that is natural, not evil man destroying the planet.

Yes they do, but they only emit CO2 that a few months to a few decades before was captured out of the atmosphere by plants. That doesn’t make (much) difference in the atmospheric CO2 budget. It is the C stored millions of years ago which adds to today’s budget…
Not that it makes much difference for the temperature on earth…

Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
Not that it makes much difference for the temperature on earth…
Thank you for that, Ferdinand. That is the crucial point.
In fact, any warming due to anthropogenic CO2 is too small to measure.

Gunga Din

Time to call the Orkin Mann!

Ferdinand Engelbeen.
“Yes they do, but they only emit CO2 that a few months to a few decades before was captured out of the atmosphere by plants.”
What about the “over 150 million tons of methane” vs other fates for wood.

Siliggy, methane, like CO2 was rather stable and only followed temperature changes, until humans increased the surface of rice fields together with the growing population, it increased exponentially together with oil/gas exploration and use. But that growth is rather stabilized in the last decades: rice is increasingly grown by relative “dry” culture and methane leaks are detected and repaired. Here the evolution of methane as measured in ice cores over the past 1,000 years:
recent figures at:
We are now around 1850 ppbv, compared to ~700 ppbv in the (warmer) previous interglacial and 650-700 ppbv before a few hundred years ago…

Thanyou for your reply Ferdinand.
After watching this video I wonder if your chart better matches the creation of national parks as the cause of the methane increase than the ancient art of rice farming.


These images will overturn all notion of AGW.
The attribution to “burning biomass” is bullshit.
Where are the carbon emissions of the industrial NH? This does not even register on the image. This satellite is a poison pill for the AGW types. Willis? Are you there?

Christopher Hanley

That’s just the raw data though, the adjusted version will fix AGW incongruities.

A little wishful thinking here? You are looking at 1.5 month of data in SH spring and warming oceans…


Can you show us where the NH AGW CO2 is hiding out, Ferdinand? Surely you can, our expert on CO2. Is that it in the SE US? That faint blush? Where, pray tell?

mpainter, as said before, human CO2 is only 0.005 ppmv/day. Even if concentrated in 10% of the surface and 10% of the CO2 column, that still is only 0.5 ppmv/day in a total of 400 ppmv. Besides that, the day/night movements of CO2 in the atmosphere can be +200/-50 ppmv in forests near ground. The seasonal movements are ~90 GtC in and out for the oceans and ~60 GtC out and in for the biosphere. Looks like looking for a needle in a haystack…
Which doesn’t mean that the human contribution is negligible, as that is one-way contribution. The bulk of the CO2 movements are two-way circulation, with slightly more sink than source over a year…


Mr. Engelbeen,
You say below that the output from humans is a net plus, but un-measurable (at this time) using this technique.
The article says the scientist blame the “plume” over China on industry.
You aren’t anti-science are you?

I don’t know about your country, but a lot of energy intensive manufacturing in the USA moved to China. I’d go look there for the CO2.

Bruce Cobb

They should do a flyover of Al Gore’s mansion.


There’s an interesting parallel between CO2 and water vapor, with respect to remote sensing and detection.
We all know that water vapor absorbs electromagnetic energy in the infra-red spectrum. But you may not be aware that it’s been long known that water vapor also absorbs microwave energy (e.g. 22GHz).
Indeed this microwave absorption is exploited by a remote-sensing system called MIMIC (Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery) which produces a visualization remarkably similar to the OCO2 visualizations we are now seeing. That’s because they both use the same idea: integrating detected densities with local winds to show how the detected substance (whatever it is) might be transported. So here is MIMIC’s model for total preciptable water (TPW), shown on a global scale.
But this is just a model output, an estimate based on how the wind is blowing locally. Subject to errors and artifacts (which you can see occasionally in the MIMIC output).
A ‘better’ way to view water vapor remotely, IMHO, is to observe its absorption on 6.7microns from a satellite. This is what the GOES WV (Channel 3 IR) does, looking at 288K ‘earth-shine’ through clouds of water vapor.
What you’re seeing here is a negative image of the absorption of 6.7micron WV, so the ‘white’ areas are actually ‘black’ where the IR absorption is total. The darker areas in the loop are where some IR is detected (mostly from about 500mb and higher levels).
So why not look at CO2 the same way? Then we wouldn’t need the complicated reflected sunlight detectors and in fact wouldn’t need the sun at all. We could just detect clouds of CO2 moving over the Earth just like the WV you see above.
My guess is that CO2 is simply too scarce in the atmosphere to be detected this way. Hence the need to use the short-wave, reflected sunlight approach.


Apparently the southern tip of greenland is a hotbed of agricultural burning. I didn’t think there were hardly any crops or industry in greenland.


As this is said to cover a 40 day period, would not the winds and weather dispersed and moved the CO2 further than suggested?

Dan in California

From the official NASA/JPL photo caption: “Carbon dioxide concentrations are highest above northern Australia,…..” I see no red over Australia.


They meant “north of”–which is what they should have said.


I noticed that too. Very confusing to say the least.


It was probably meant to. It gives a completely misleading meaning without being an actual lie.

“Preliminary analysis shows these signals are largely driven by the seasonal burning of savannas and forests,” – that’s utter crap! Compare to Google Earth – the red areas are rain-forests! As Murry Salby has been saying – the largest CO2 sources on land are rain forests:


Trees Exhale as much CO2 as they inhale http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bot00/bot00191.htm

Robert of Ottawa

Not true. Plants both respire and photosynthesize. The latter uses more CO2 than the former.

Yep – rain forests. Plus chinese power stations and industries. Some indication of the west pacific warm pools starting to warm up and beginning to out-gas? I suspect this is already being rigged. I’m tempted to press the bs button. That range of values, 387 – 402.5 seems highly questionable. I know from my own reasonably well calibrated measurements here on the western edge of the Coral Sea, that the level is rarely less than 400 ppm, but goes up to around 425 ppm after sunset.

Robert of Ottawa

See my comment in the future at 2.41 PM


Who planted those bloody forests?


I would state that some of the burning in southern Africa is not for agricultural purposes but to clear bush to allow easy search for alluvial gold by metal detectors.

Crispin in Waterloo

Biomass burning in Southern Africa peaks in dry season (duh) which is over by October. Mostly July-August.
Forests produce lots of CO2 from decomposition of plant material.
Anyone remember the big methane clouds found over forests when the methane measuring satellite first went up?
Forests are not net sources of O2 – the so-called “lungs of the world”. Rotting vegetarian absorbs a great deal of O2 to produce all that CO2. My, my how things don’t work the way they are supposed to.


These bush fires are common in the dry season. So they do contribute to this problem and it was no surprise to me to see the satellite hotspot over Southern Africa.
If anyone looks up any old farming book and the difficulty of retaining humus because of the heat, in certain parts of Africa, then you will see there is a natural release of carbon through heat by the sun, in grassland areas, never mind forests.


What is going on in the Sahara?
In 2009 WUWT had: “Some preliminary results from GOSAT – CO2 hot spots in interesting places”
[GOSAT Worldwide CO2 – Carbon dioxide (column averaged dry air mole fraction) initial analysis (April 20-28 observation data) – click for larger image Source: JAXA]
[GOSAT Worldwide Methane – Methane (column averaged dry air mole fraction) initial analysis (April 20-28 observation data)- click for larger image Source: JAXA]


my guess is that those red areas are from decaying (not burning) biomass and CO2 released by insects and microbes

Deforestation and the destruction of life in the Amazon and elsewhere, NOT industry. I knew it!
I have been shaking with fury at the lying “greens” for a long time over the temperature nonsense. But something devastating HAS been going on. And that provides an opportunity to get them on our side at last, for in order to fix anything, you have to be more than half right already, and these people are already concerned about the real problem: monstrous agriculture.
Modern agriculture is based on poisons and on animal cruelty. Organic is not always better, but organic methods exist that outperform the poison methods. One is Sonic Bloom (TM). Go to http://www.originalsonicbloom.com and enjoy the site; then purchase a kit for yourself or a greenie friend.
JUMP on this: the iron is hot right now.

With all due respect, without ‘monstrous agriculture’, ‘ poisons’, and ‘animal cruelty’ billions of humans would have already starved to death. Us farmers do try to reduce ‘poisons’ by manuring fields to reduce synthetic fertilizer cost, and planting GMO crops to reduce pesticide cost where and when those things make sense and are permitted. The yield miracle of dwarf IR8 rice in Asia REQUIRES synthetic fertilizer and herbicides, one reason it is not more widespread in places like Thailand.
My dairy cattle don’t experience a whole lot of animal cruelty until the last second at the top of the stairway to heaven, on the way to their final resting place at McDonalds. Perhaps you are a vegetarian. I worked on a large scale German hog farm one summer (thousands of hogs/year, fourth largest in Germany at the time). We babied them in their growing pens with dosed food, contant manure removal, even scenery rotation (ever larger pens are needed as hogs mature in size over 9 months). You cannot have free range hogs, since they root everything up.
Perhaps you are thinking free range chicken with all else being chicken cruelty. Can be done at moderate scale for 2-3x the cost of what you pay now with present rearing method costs. Never seemed to find chickens complaining much either way. Hard to know as I don’t speak chicken.
Given the worlds population, it is impossible to return to the romanticized farming methods still practiced by the Amish. They work, but don’t scale any more than a back yard victory garden.

Rud says:
…I don’t speak chicken.
That’s a clucking shame. Good post, though. A needed dose of reality…


You got a bit of a problem, you A- H (s) Temperatures are definitely going up, not down, as you would like them to.
Odd, some algorythm fucks up whatever I write,. You got semething against the French? Thought you hated models? I never typed a typed a k? So why did you make it appear?

Bruce Cobb

Sleep it off, you’ll feel better in the morning. Comprennez-vous?


“above northern Australia”
Why didn’t they say, “over Indonesia”?

Chris Schoneveld

I was thinking the same. It is lack of knowledge of geography. Americans think that Holland is a province of Denmark or vice versa :-). Bush, before he became president, did’t even have a passport (so it was rumoured).

Hi Chris,
GWB traveled to other countries. I don’t know if he had a passport, but I don’t think a President needs one.

Why would anyone be ‘surprised’ by this?
Just goes to show that many scientists live in a bubble and have no knowledge of the actual world.

Also interesting to note from the map that there appears to be no elevated CO2 levels over the most densely populated and industrialised parts of the world!

To my mind, they’re not looking at this biomass/CO2 thing reasonably. Take Northern Australia for example: fires burn across the land every yea. The total amount of vegetation doesn’t change over the years, nor does the quality of the soil. So the whole fire-growth-fire sequence is atmospheric-CO2-neutral. Now look at old-growth Brazilian forest : no change in biomass, no build-up in the soil, ergo atmospheric-CO2-neutral. The Amazon forests are not an active CO2 sink, they are an ex CO2 sink.

That seems about right. The two big biosphere carbon sinks are temperate soils (both forest and Grassland) where organic carbon residues can build up indefinitely by simply increasing ‘topsoil’ thickness, and the oceans where organisms like coccolithophorids sequester carbon in precipitated mineral carbonates (in the coccolith’s case, as chalk). The rest is mostly a recycling wash but for land use changes. The biggest chunk of biogenically stored carbon is not coal or oil. It is several hundred million years of miles thick sedimentary limestone and dolomite basins, and their metamorphic (marble) equivalents.

Pete in Cumbria

You’re so close to my way of thinking Rud (also being a farmer)
BUT, I’ll put tyou the question I’m presently putting to as many farmers as I meet, namely:
How does nitrogen fertiliser work, what does it ACTUALLY do?
Universally I am met with blank faces and I will admit that I never gave it a second thought while using 35+ tonnes of the stuff annually. This is especially as its called ‘fertiliser’ so you would imagine that by adding it to the land, you would be increasing the fertility of the land. Yes/No??
It took a reading of The Vegetarian Myth, and just one small phrase in there that said something along the lines of.. ‘ soil bacteria chew up organic matter in the soil and plants, basically, suck up and use the ensuing slop’
Hence how nitrogen fertiliser works, it drives the soil bacteria into a feeding frenzy (being their previously limited nutrient) and they produce many times more digestate that the plants use to grow bigger and faster than they otherwise would.
This digestate is acidic, it attacks the mineral fraction of the soil releasing the myriad trace elements/nutrients from otherwise alkaline/basic rock and that the plants need. Also why, as most farmers will tell you, nitrogen fertiliser acidifies your soil, unless of course you’re farming on chalky ground.
But the bacteria also produce huge amounts of CO2, presumably some of which expailns the increased soil acidity and some escapes to the atmosphere. Growing plants will try and capture some of that and nature tended to make them as tall a practicable to do just that. Hence trees are big things and also native grasses, including the ancestors of wheat barley etc. Tall plants protect the soil and shelter it, enabling them to catch more of the microbe created CO2 before it blows away in the breeze.
It all fits perfectly with the CO2 graph, ramping up as it does when it does (the arrival of nitrogen fertiliser ‘in bulk’ on farms just after WW2) and also dwarf varieties of agricultural crops.
Look again at that satellite map and think ‘farmland’ and lets see whht it does in 5 or 6 months time in the northern hemisphere.
Thre reduction of soil organic matter also fits with the torrents of dirty water we see on news programs, muddy fields that farmers complain about (blaming climate change of course) and also rising readings on thermometers, less soil organic = less retained moisture= bigger diurnal temperature swings.
It all fits so well. All the graphs point to the arrival of the oxymornically named nitrogen fertiliser on the world’s farmland.


@Pete – these guys produce a fertilizer with lots of minerals (including Plutonium?) by extracting them from a seawater:
It’s seriously overpriced, and sold to green/natural funamentalists:


A reply to Pete Below as no link for reply under his comment.
Your comment on nitrogen is accurate as to its effect on soil. What you miss is the level of fertiliser in Southern Africa, which is the lowest in the world, probably less than 20kg compound D per hectare on average, but certainly tiny, and not at all able to account for the increase of co2 in the satellite map by arrival of fertiliser as you suggest. Southern Africa has two distinct seasons dry and wet. On the arrival of the rains there is an identified and purely natural nitrogen flush. This is due to the activity of said beasties and the creation of nitrogen naturally. It lasts about 4-6 weeks after the start of the rains. Farmers who don’t plant early lose this benefit.
Compost pits heat up. So do kraals full of cattle manure. Of these latter there are millions in Southern Africa. Forests are a bit like compost pits. You don’t need to start fires for them to emit something. I don’t think that many of the thoughts in this thread are accurate on the subject of infertile soils, in Southern Africa, at least. Many are clay loams and labelled as inherently fertile by the agricultural departments. If they are manured regularly, which they are not, then they become exhausted but can easily be recovered by manure and lime or even fertiliser.


…”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.”…..
And it glimpses the trees, never mind the forest ?

This way it can use up its fuel faster and require more multimillion dollar taxpayer investments in yet another one of these orbiting guessing games thereby continuing to employ people with money that could have been used to actually HELP mankind instead of attempting to quantify that which is not important*… e.g. CO2 levels.
*Except as a fictional bludgeon to be used against productive humanity.

There is possibility that the instrumentation used isn’t effectively shielded from cosmic rays, and as result generating flawed data is. The band south of the equator (yellow strip in the illustration) is characterised by weak earth magnetic field,
the most notably over south Atlantic (geomagnetic anomaly). A satellite/spacecraft could experience a 1000 times increase in radiation exposure passing the South Atlantic Anomaly. Cause is highly energetic particles impacting electronic circuits, in past satellites have been permanently lost, while ISS results to often if not regular rebooting its computers. This could explain strong patches over the ocean, while Greenland one could be caused by solar CMEs proton storms (cause of aurora) affecting the polar areas.


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

So…. the calibration efforts so far are not “excellent”, not even “good”. They’re “promising”.

The OCO-2 team is currently developing techniques that will verify the observations of column averaged dry air mole fraction (Xco2) acquired from space.” (from the Validation page)
They not only haven’t calibrated it, they still don’t know how to validate the data once they do… and they’re trying to validate measurements of an averaged dry air column that doesn’t exist on this planet. It only exists in a computer model.


So we have been conned again.

mpainter December 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm
So we have been conned again.

Conned would be a strong word in this case. The admission that the calibration process is on going and the results not yet validated is right there by their own admission. I just pointed it out because people are trying to draw conclusions from this data, and I think it is way to early to analyse the day lights out of it when its own proponents are admitting that it is early. Of course they use the word “promising” because they want to put a positive spin on it and lobby for more funding. There’s just no way they would come to the conference with a poster that said “the results so far aren’t proving accurate but we think with more time and funding we can fix it”.


We should judge science by its successes, not its failures.
The OCO-2 calibration process was discussed yesterday at the press conference, where they showed this plot.
How would you rate these results? If OCO-2 and TCCON agree then the will points tend to lie on the X=Y diagonal.
I think it shows reasonable agreement between the values measured by OCO-2, compared to TCCON stations on the ground. So, ‘not bad’, eh?
Remember that the ground stations and OCO-2 are both using essentially the same spectrometers. But the ground stations have a tremendous advantage. They obtain their spectral absorption plots by merely pointing their instruments towards the Sun. On OCO-2 it is much more difficult. It has to decode the spectral lines from sunlight reflected from the oceans and ground.


Well, if they are climate scientists they will never confess the defects.
I hate to be fooled twice.


I hope that our “eminent” scientists recognize that every square inch of the Earth’s surface emits CO2 through organic decay, if it has four things: organic material, bacteria, moisture and warmth a bit above the temperature of your kitchen refrigerator. It is no surprise (to me) that the equatorial region produces CO2 through decay. This goes for land and water areas, equally.

Yes, Prof Freeman Dyson wrote about that, too. He said that the top hundreth of an inch of topsoil is enough to absorb all human CO2. [source]
CO2 is simply not a problem. It is the classic Chicken Little scare. They say the sky is falling. But it’s only a tiny acorn.

[quoting author of article] “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.
Shure nuff, it does that every Springtime in the Southern Hemisphere immediately following the Autumnal Equinox on September 23rd of each year as denoted by NOAA’s 2014 monthly average Mona Loa CO2 ppm data, to wit:
—— mth ————– CO2 ppm ————–
2014 1 2014.042 397.80
2014 2 2014.125 397.91
2014 3 2014.208 399.59
2014 4 2014.292 401.27
2014 5 2014.375 401.83
2014 6 2014.458 401.15
2014 7 2014.542 399.00
2014 8 2014.625 397.01
2014 9 2014.708 395.28
2014 10 2014.792 395.93
2014 11 2014.875 397.13

Excerpted from: ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_mm_mlo.txt
So yup, the CO2 was elevated by 1.85 ppm during October and November. (And it will continue to elevate until about mid-May, or after the Spring equinox)
And it has been “steadily and consistently” doing the very same thing immediately following the Autumnal Equinox on September 23rd for the past 56+ years as denoted on this copy of the Keeling Curve Graph, to wit:
[re-quoting a quote by author] ““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.

Really now, ….. largely driven by springtime “burning” (oxidation) of savannas and forests, HUH?
And what about the massive amounts of springtime “burning” (oxidation) of all the dead biomass by microbial decomposition? The microbes really “love it” when springtime temperatures begin increasing and the dead biomass is damp enough for them to be ingesting said. (Refrigerator-Freezer Law)
And just what was/is responsible for “burning off” all of that atmospheric CO2 that was detected/measured way far off-shore out in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere oceans. Was there “Fire on the water”, ….. or what?
Do ya suppose those increasing springtime temperatures are causing the ocean waters in the Southern Hemisphere to warm back up from the winter’s cold and thus causing an outgassing of CO2?

george e. smith

Well that annual cycle pretty much replicates the melting and refreezing of the arctic sea ice. Except in the arctic, the amplitude of the cycle is about 18-20 ppm, instead of 6 at ML


the red spot below Greenland is the tail end of a blob that came off NE U.S…….
Are they sure they are measuring OCO2 and not degenerated methane?…..no

son of mulder

CO2 looks relatively low over the UK. Maybe that is because we import so much stuff from China yeut we (I mean the nutter greens in our government) still pretend that wind-turbines and solar panels are worth a heap of beans compared to nuclear and gas powered electricity generation. And I can’t help but point out that we in the UK have just had a relatively warm autumn/winter start yet CO2 levels are relatively low, discuss.


Considering the timespan of this first reading, it would seem to confirm this:
“The Lima climate talks will produce more than 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a record carbon footprint for any U.N. climate meeting measured, organizers say …”
It will be interesting to compare future satellite readings and note if the red clouds over Lima-Cusco dissipate permanently.
The Lima climate talks will produce more than 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a record carbon footprint for any U.N. climate meeting measured, organizers say — though all that greenhouse gas pollution will be offset by host country Peru’s protection of forest, organizers say.
Now that’s inconvenient.


What we’re looking at (and picking apart) is a single graphic, representing some very preliminary and incomplete analysis, probably created as part of the content for the AGU presentation.
The first public release of the collected OCO2 data isn’t scheduled until 30-December-2014. Hopefully that product will be more complete and contain some actual source/sink analysis (for further picking apart).

Paul Arends

I’m new to all this, but doesn’t the story make an unfounded assumption that the C02 emission being observed here is anthropogenic? I just happened to recently watch this presentation by Murry Salby (revelevant part starts at about 38 minutes in, and relevant image at 39:28) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROw_cDKwc0
He makes the point that native (non-human) C02 emissions are driven mainly by temperature and soil moisture, and are therefore naturally banded around the equator, and in places where there is little human population or industrialization.

Paul, I had several questions for Salby, which still are unanswered, but the biosphere (plants + microbes + insects + animals) as a whole is a net sink for CO2. There are large movements of CO2 over the seasons, but these are more or less level off over a full cycle: some more sink than source…
Temperature is currently only a small player in the CO2 increase: historically not more than 8 ppmv/K.

Robert of Ottawa

I’d like to see the other seasonal period pictures. It appears that the CO2 max is directly under the Sun, rather than over tropical vegetation. Yes, Brazil has the Amazon, but a great chunk of the red in Brazil is from savannah regions (known locally as Sertao). Also, in Africa, why is Equatorial Africa not right red? But drier, less tropical South Africa is?
I also note that a lot of Southern ocean is rich ion CO2, that beloved and important life-sustaining gas.

HI Robert
Please examine the 15fps AIRS data animation of global CO2 at
Give it a minute to load, then enjoy this display of nature’s power..
Regards, Allan

One more try = the system keeps adding crud to the address.
If this does not work, just eliminate the quotation marks and everything outside them.

Bruce Cobb
Bruce Cobb

Must be a bug in the system.
[Fixed. ~mod.]

Robert of Ottawa

Thinking about this, I think this photo demonstrates that insolation of the oceans causes CO2 to be released from it. Funny that init?


ok guys, stop guessing…
Drought releases CO2…..South America has been in a drought
Their rainy seaon doesn’t start until Nov……the map is Oct – Nov 11
What you’re looking at is a result of the drought

I take it that NASA or those who are using corrected values from NASA’s so called “reading” of CO2 in air, neither knows the direction not spead of streams, straights in open sea, I understand that they hardly learned the difference in saltination or the difference in CO2 in surface waterstreams from the CO2 values 4-10 meters under surface…
nor knows the simple fact that due to these parameters, they are looking in wrong dirctions for “causes”…..
Not much they know and use of basic facts/factors due to Natural forces. Does anyone of them have even the slightes knowledge of l the vulcanos under water during each stream, straights route to where the CO2 is “observed”?
NO they don’t
but then again, complicated algoritms using more than 40 known parabels they might not have learned studying basic matematic….
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the money gone?

Bruce Cobb

Gone to grant-grubbing graveyards, every one.

This summer a very intersting book was published in UK. The book might explain WHY so many never learnt basic facts nor was given the chance to understand basic first, deep understanding next in order to learn how to go on to understanding more than bits and pieces.
Daisy Christodoulou did a tough research in true Theories of Science-maner writing: Exploding Seven Myths about Education….
Guess what. In the 1960’s the wave of returning to Rousseau’s thoughts about Freedom and Learning started to have a major impact on teaching and learning in UK as well as US. (Sweden is an other example 1960-talet fortsätter skada den svenska skolan, <SvD ledarsidan 20 december 2014
The Seven Myths:
* Facts prevent understanding
* Teacher-led instruction is passive
* The 21st century fundamentally changes everything
* You can always just look it up
* We should teach transferable skills
* Projects and activities are the best way to learn
* Teaching knowledge is indoctrination.
How come this started in the 1960’s? Well I myself found three major reasons: In 1960’s the first of the War Children and those who like me were born in 1940’s grow up. Many who started having children compared to days before WWII. The well educated teacher my own generation had, had to first be “duplicated” and from late 70’s replaced so many more teachers had to be “found” and educated to make it possible to teach all the children growing up. But the third factor I myself found is the same as what caused the revolts around the World in 1968 – too many people became lefties… (Need I explain?)
Thus when the children of 1960’s and early 70’s grow up believing not only in an unfairness when some had high grades and some low the answer seemed to come from Sociology Studies of Society. Life isn’t always fair but some believed that it was a Human Right not only to have the basic school education that’s written in Human Rights but to have it anyway and that no one ought to stop them from having that no matter if they didn’t have proper understanding enough to go on to higher studies.
What we had, unfortunatly, is a less educated growing number of students at Universities from there on…. Quantity instead of Quality…
From a review:
But as Christodoulou is at pains to point out, what looks like a peculiarly contemporary antipathy to teaching knowledge, ‘this endless transmission of information’ as national curriculum architect Mick Waters disparagingly put it in 2012, actually has a rather long ancestry. ‘It is an intellectual legacy of the Romantic era’, she tells me, ‘with Rousseau its forefather. It’s not a recent phenomenon.’
Indeed, as Seven Myths makes clear, there has long been a tradition of thought in which teaching children facts, inculcating them, sometimes by rote, with particular areas of knowledge, has been viewed as detrimental to the child. As Rousseau put it in
Emile, ‘What is the use of inscribing on [children’s] brains a list of symbols which mean nothing to them?’.
Rousseau even went so far as to call such teaching methods ‘immoral’ on the grounds that fact-learning robs children of childhood. Again in the late nineteenth century, American philosopher John Dewey argued that teaching children maths or the dates of historical events, rather than letting them learn through their own experience, made them passive, the recipients of ‘a mass of meaningless and arbitrary ideas imposed from without’. And then, of course, there is Gradgrind, the Charles Dickens grotesque in Hard Times who, by famously insisting that ‘Facts alone are wanted in life’, left his pupils emotionally stunted – hardly a ringing endorsement of a knowledge-based education by that most canonical of authors.Exploding Seven Myths about Education, Daisy Christodoulou , a one-time University Challenge winner, UK secondary-school teacher, and now a researcher at ARK school. Review written by Deputy Editor Tim Black on spiked-on-line.com


the “Pacific ring of fire” seems well represented in that chart –
last friday another volcano went off in indonesia to add to the many recent events. above new zealand would be part of the under water ring. i just wonder if this is a good predictor for future events. eg there is a very large volcano in china that is set to blow soon.


Come on guys ands gals!~
All that sciency sounding stuff about the satellite and it’s CO2 measurements has to be shouted loudly from the rooftops so as to appear to justify the very expensive, very new toy which rich Uncle Government with hefty donations from the Tax Mafia has so generously provided the where-with-all to pay for. So now we have a very expensive toy whizzing around over our heads. doing all those wondrous measurements which nobody has anyway of independently checking outside of the CO2 fixated climate sciency types.
The question is ; Will it make any damn difference to anybody or anything?
More taxes, more rules, more laws, more strictures on somebody somewhere to “Stop” those dangerous [ ??? ] CO2 emissions appearing where they do in that no doubt correctly “Adjusted” data.
And no doubt the inevitable demands that “somebody do something about all those “Carbon” emissions” or else they should pay compensation.
To whom the compensation goes to [ where it is supposed to come from; no need to ask ! ] of course is to be “negotiated” and the document MUST include a clause exempting the UN collectors and guardians of that compensation moneys from being liable for any cockups or unfortunate and permanent disappearances of very large amounts of the aforesaid and collected “Carbon” compensation moneys.
Will it make the slightest difference to the way in which Nature runs this planet?
Sadly, after being a science fan and supporter for more than fifty of my 76 years I no longer trust any of these climate sciency types [ plus increasingly some in other disciplines ] such as the interpretation [ and “adjustments” ] of this satellite data, particularly those who are deep into anything to do with that nefarious “Carbon” of the green blob eco-fascist ideology, otherwise known as CO2 or Carbon Dioxide to the more rational and thinking members of the public.