Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Greenhouse gas surprise: Re-set your brain with new satellite data.

Were you thinking, like me, that CO2 fumes from industry in Burlington and Beijing defined greenhouse gas?  Think again.  Tides of CO2 follow the growing season, moving north and south on earth.  CO2 is disappearing from the atmosphere and being recreated about equally. Watch the 12 month animation of data from the first satellite dedicated to measuring greenhouse gas, the Japanese GOSAT.   The seasonal shifts both down and up are way bigger than industrial inputs, even over the heart of Europe. The gif animation shows up to 30 ppm variation annually.

There's mis-information about GOSAT which uses this screen capture on the right from Japanese TV.  Presented as proof that the industrial world is a net consumer, not emitter, of CO2, it's the July 2009 data when this happens to be largely true.  The correct information is this four season display below.  Japan's space agency has yet to release a chart of annual averages, the minimum for drawing conclusions..

An article linked by smalldeadanimals makes the striking point that maybe the "red" places should be paying reparations to the "green" places like Canada and Europe.  This chart on the left was used as the proof but it is data from only one week in April 2009 as the green tide of growth was moving north for the summer. The source chart with date and context is here.

I see a couple places that stay "in the red" pretty much year round. China and South East Asia and a patch near Houston and the Florida Everglades. They say you manage what you measure.  This is the first time the whole earth has been surveyed for CO2 from space. It's a bit soon to draw conclusions other than CO2 is made and consumed seasonally by vegetation.  How dangerous is this greenhouse gas to plants?  Watch Chickpea bulk up on CO2 supplement (2 minutes).

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