NASA Satellite's 1st Carbon Dioxide Maps of Earth Revealed

December 19, 2014 10:50 PM

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This past summer, NASA launched its first satellite devoted to measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that is driving global warming. Thursday (Dec. 18), scientists with the space agency unveiled the first carbon maps obtained by the spacecraft, named the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2. OCO-2 only started collecting its first scientifically useful information at the end of September, but the initial results "are quite amazing," said Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 deputy project scientist, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. [ In Photos: World's Most Polluted Places ]

In a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Eldering and her colleagues showed a map of the globe that uses about 600,000 data points taken by OCO-2 from Oct. 1 through Nov. 17. It shows hotspots of carbon dioxide over northern Australia, southern A...

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