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Serving AIRS CO2 retrievals

AIRS project provides mid-tropospheric CO2 from September 2002, to present; the popular data set is served in various ways from GES DISC.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Project, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, announced the initial release of its Level 2 and Level 3 mid-tropospheric CO2 data products at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, December 2009.  The atmospheric CO2 data cover the globe from 60°S to 90°N, beginning in September 2002 and continuing to present.  The time range of data product availability will be extended as the mission progresses, and as the data are processed. (The news release can be viewed here).  The GES DISC supports the following services for the CO2 data collection, and all other AIRS data products in the archive:

  • Web Map Services

GES DISC maintains a Web Map Server (WMS) that allows various compatible clients (IDV 2.6, McIDAS-V, GoogleEarth, Q-GIS) to quickly browse through the parameters served.  The address to query (from WMS clients, not simple browsers) this particular WMS for AIRS  is:

Or, the XML that fully describes the capabilities of this WMS can be requested and viewed (in a browser): 

In the case of the climate-focused parameter CO2, activities like daily operational monitoring of data are perhaps not one of the strengths of WMS.  For educational purposes, raising public awareness, and understanding the characteristics of the most potent anthropogenic greenhouse gas, WMS clients like GoogleEarth can provide entertaining presentations of science data. The KMZ example (snapshot on the right) contains two layers depicting global CO2 concentrations for November 2002 and 2009. The warmer colors (yellow, orange, and red) reflect larger CO2 concentrations. By changing the transparency of the 2009 layer, the dramatic increase of CO2 over this seven-year period can be easily demonstrated. CO2_KMZ_example_thumb


The WMS -generated browse can also be viewed by a simple browser, by issuing an appropriate URL request. The following two URLs demonstrate how to request CO2 concentrations for November 2002 and 2009 (note the "time" keyword):,coastline&STYLES=default&TRANSPARENT=TRUE&bbox=-180,-90,180,90&time=2002-11-01&FORMAT=image/png,coastline&STYLES=default&TRANSPARENT=TRUE&bbox=-180,-90,180,90&time=2009-11-01&FORMAT=image/png 

The color bar for the CO2 parameter  can be obtained by issuing:

 Using the above URLs, plates like this one can be dynamically refreshed at regular intervals.

 November 2002

 November 2009

  CO2 color bar



  • Giovanni
Giovanni is a more advanced Web tool that, apart from simple data browsing, allows for more sophisticated data previews. Users can build their own movies out of time-series of gridded data, quickly check for trends in the data, create zonal/meridonal averages, scatter plots, etc.  For example, it is very easy to quickly check the differences in the global trends of CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere, versus those in the Southern Hemisphere, in the Giovanni AIRS Monthly instance:

Trend of CO2 in the Southern Hemisphere

Southern Hemisphere (60°S-0°N)

Trend of CO2 in Northern Hemisphere

Northern Hemisphere (0°N - 90°N)


  • Mirador

All AIRS CO2 products are freely distributed, and can be directly downloaded by anonymous ftp, e.g. CO2 monthly products. However, the GES DISC also provides more sophisticated methods to acquire data. The gateway to search and download all AIRS products (including CO2 ) is Mirador.  Mirador is a Google-like minimalist interface that returns very fast search results, based on optional user-defined spatial and temporal constraints, in the form of links to data, or entire download scripts.  Furthermore, Mirador provides REST (Representational State Transfer) Web Services functionality. This functionality means that users can build and submit their own search queries in the form of URLs (similarly to the Web Map services above), and screen the search results that are returned by Mirador. 


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Last updated: Dec 02, 2011 03:20 PM ET