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Space Earth NASA

NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-the-numbers dept.
An anonymous reader writes A NASA satellite being prepared for launch early on Tuesday is expected to reveal details about where carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas tied to climate change, is being released into Earth's atmosphere on a global scale. From the article: "The $468 million mission is designed to study the main driver of climate change emitted from smokestacks and tailpipes. Some of the carbon dioxide is sucked up by trees and oceans, and the rest is lofted into the atmosphere, trapping the sun's heat and warming the planet. But atmospheric CO2 levels fluctuate with the seasons and in different regions of the Earth. The natural and human activities that cause the changes are complicated. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2 for short, will be able to take an ultra-detailed look at most of the Earth's surface to identify places responsible for producing or absorbing the greenhouse gas."
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

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  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:16AM (#47349415)

    carbon has nothing to do with the temperatures on earth

    You're right. But this story is about carbon dioxide, not carbon. If it were all stored as carbon, we couldn't have a problem. Carbon dioxide, however, is the single biggest contributor to the temperature on earth there is. Also, I suspect you're just a troll :-)

  • by itzly (3699663) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:22AM (#47349467)
    We need a satellite to get (almost) real time insight in CO2 sources and sinks and the atmospheric mixing.
  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:26AM (#47349493)

    From the article, it seems like there's a couple of reasons:

    - Identify areas that are actively absorbing CO2 emissions. This is important because we can use it to figure out what the best way to naturally absorb CO2 is for use in things like city planning. For instance, we know that forests and the ocean absorb CO2, but we probably don't know which plants are the most efficient at doing so. If we find out which are the most efficient, they could probably be used in "green roof" projects in cities and in urban planning to alleviate CO2 output from cars.

    - Study the difference in natural CO2 emissions (ie; not from burning fossil fuels) through the seasons, presumably to better identify man-made CO2 emissions.

    - Find out what happens to the CO2 we emit once it reaches the atmosphere. Obviously, there Is always going to be CO2 in the atmosphere, but where it is and how it moves is a different story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:34AM (#47349575)

    carbon has nothing to do with the temperatures on earth

    You're right. But this story is about carbon dioxide, not carbon. If it were all stored as carbon, we couldn't have a problem. Carbon dioxide, however, is the single biggest contributor to the temperature on earth there is. Also, I suspect you're just a troll :-)

    I assume you are aware that the current 380ppm CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere is pretty much an all-time geological low?

    Earth's CO2 levels over the past 600 million years or so have averaged about 1,500ppm [geocraft.com], with peaks up to perhaps 7,000+ ppm:

    There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm -- about 18 times higher than today.

    ... the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm. ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2014 @08:56AM (#47349759)

    How about we...um....you know...STUDY OUTER SPACE?! It disgusts me to see me tax dollars going to fund some idiotic garbage like perpetuating the myth of man made global warming. CLIMATE CHANGE IS CYCLICAL!

    Why can't we have a like button on Slashdot? This is the best example of why we need a like button. And yes i am a troll who probably won't even read the rest of the comments on this subject because it is asinine and ridiculous. GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH made up by Al Gore to make a lot of money off of books that he wrote which make no sense at all.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@nOsPAm.yahoo.com> on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:05AM (#47349845) Homepage Journal

    You are aware that isn't true, right?

    http://www.skepticalscience.co... [skepticalscience.com]

  • by bunratty (545641) on Monday June 30, 2014 @09:27AM (#47350013)
    It hasn't become hotter in recent decades but it has become hotter [northwestern.edu] over the past 600 million years.

    Since its birth 4.5 billion years ago, the Sun's luminosity has very gently increased by about 30%.3 This is an inevitable evolution which comes about because, as the billions of years roll by, the Sun is burning up the hydrogen in its core. The helium "ashes" left behind are denser than hydrogen, so the hydrogen/helium mix in the Sun's core is very slowly becoming denser, thus raising the pressure. This causes the nuclear reactions to run a little hotter. The Sun brightens.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Monday June 30, 2014 @10:45AM (#47350647) Homepage

    This was the coldest winter this country has ever seen. Fact.

    Not a fact.

    The winter of 2013 - 2014 was one of the ten coldest winters in history in the Midwest U.S.

    It was the warmest winter on record in California, and set records for high temperatures in Alaska.

    Overall, it was the 34th coolest winter in the contiguous U.S. since records began in 1895. The contiguous United States comprises 1.5% of the surface area of the Earth. One season, in 1.5% of the Earth's surface: this is weather, not climate

    http://www.wunderground.com/bl... [wunderground.com]
    http://www.weather.com/news/wi... [weather.com]

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:40AM (#47351157)

    It doesn't. On the short time scale because the radiation changes are overwhelmingly cyclical (the increase is on the order of 1% per 100 My), on the longer time scale because the feedback loops compensate the radiation increase by CO2 decrease (through increased absorption by various means) so that the temperatures remain roughly the same.

    The point is that itzly was talking about Ordovician CO2 concentrations (thousands of ppm, but hundreds of millions of years ago), but geekidiotoid has "countered" this argument by linking a page describing the events of a few recent decades. See the problem yet?

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Monday June 30, 2014 @12:30PM (#47351663) Homepage

    I assume you are aware that the current 380ppm CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere is pretty much an all-time geological low?

    It's lower than in much of the Earth's history, but no, not anywhere near an all-time low. The all-time low is about half the current value... which, as it turns out, also was a much colder time in Earth's history.

    Earth's CO2 levels over the past 600 million years or so have averaged about 1,500ppm [geocraft.com], with peaks up to perhaps 7,000+ ppm:

    And temperatures were much hotter, too. For most of Earth's history, the planet does not have ice caps.

    There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today.

    And temperatures were about 3 degrees C above what they are today.

    The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm -- about 18 times higher than today.

    And temperatures were 7 degrees C above current temperatures.

    ... the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm. ...

    Carbon dioxide, on the average, was higher during the Ordovician, and average temperature during Ordovician period was 2C above modern levels (with sea levels 180 m higher). There was indeed a brief ice age-- about half a million years-- during the Ordovician. (for reference, the Ordovician lasted about 45 million years) But, guess what? That ice age corresponded to a low level of carbon dioxide. http://www.newscientist.com/ar... [newscientist.com]

    Every single one of the examples you cite supports the basic observation that increased carbon dioxide correlates with increased temperature.

    Yes, correlation is not causation. Nevertheless, you certainly can't point to this as evidence that carbon dioxide isn't related to global temperature

An adequate bootstrap is a contradiction in terms.

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