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NASA's carbon-monitoring OCO-2 satellite: EL Nino caused record CO2 rise in 2015-16

El Nino is a cyclical warming pattern of ocean circulation in the central and eastern tropical the Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide.


By   |  Updated On : October 13, 2017 02:32 PM
NASA's carbon-monitoring OCO-2 satellite: EL Nino caused record CO2 rise in 2015-16 (NASA)

NASA's carbon-monitoring OCO-2 satellite: EL Nino caused record CO2 rise in 2015-16 (NASA)

New Delhi :  

Finally, the scientists have found the impact of the 2015-16 El Nino-related heat and drought occurring in tropical regions of South America, Africa, and Indonesia. 

The reason in the increased level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration seen in at least 2,000 years, according to the recent research published in the journal Science  as part of a collection of five research papers, are based on analysis of the first 28 months of data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite. 

El Nino is a cyclical warming pattern of ocean circulation in the central and eastern tropical the Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide. 

Scientists have analyzed the data of the first 28 months from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite. 

"These three tropical regions released 2.5 gigatonnes (a billion tonnes) more carbon into the atmosphere than they did in 2011," said the lead author of the study Junjie Liu of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. 

"OCO-2 data allowed us to quantify how the net exchange of carbon between land and "atmosphere in individual regions is affected during El Nino years," Liu added.

OCO-2 has recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide increase in 2015 and 2016, 50 percent larger than the average increase seen in recent years preceding these observations.

In recent year, a surge in the level of carbon dioxide has been witness the average annual increase has been closer to two parts per million of carbon dioxide per year -- or four gigatonnes of carbon. 

The scientists have used carbon dioxide data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) and compared the 2015 findings to those from the reference year 2011.

In 2011, the weather in the three tropical regions was normal and the amount of carbon absorbed and released by them was in balance. 

"Understanding how the carbon cycle in these regions responded to El Nino will enable scientists to improve carbon cycle models, which should lead to improved predictions of how our planet may respond to similar conditions in the future," said OCO-2 Deputy Project Scientist Annmarie Eldering of JPL."

"The team's findings imply that if future climate brings more or longer droughts, as the last El Nino did, more carbon dioxide may remain in the atmosphere, leading to a tendency to further warm Earth," Eldering added. 


First Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 01:46 PM

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