The newly released AIRS retrieval of mid-tropospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) provides yet another evidence of rising global concentrations. Out of 16 major gaseous components of dry atmosphere, CO2 holds fourth place by concentration, being about a thousand times "thinner" than Nitrogen and Oxygen. Nevertheless, CO2 is the second most potent green house gas of Earth's atmosphere, trailing only the water wapor by warming potency. The trend of CO2 concentration retrieved by AIRS shows no signs of leveling, thus leaving little doubt that the global CO2 concentrations will be reaching 390 parts per million (ppm) by the end of 2010.
The line plot depicts planetary-averaged (60°S-90°N latitudes) mid-tropospheric CO2 volume fraction, computed from AIRS monthly data. The figure demonstrates that the planetary atmospheric CO2 concentration has been steadily increasing over the duration of the AIRS mission, and the trend has been decisively stronger than seasonal or any other type of variability.
|The maps are samples from the AIRS CO2 retrieval. They depict averaged CO2 concentrations in terms of mid-tropospheric volume fractions for November of 2002 (bottom), and seven years later, November 2009 (top). The maps reveal unambiguously increased CO2 concentrations over the entire globe.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Project, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, announced the initial release of its Level 2 and Level 3 free troposphere 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.
All data products are freely distributed through the Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC).
All of the new AIRS data products can be searched through and downloaded from the Mirador data search engine at the GES DISC, accessible at the following link:
The free troposphere CO2 data products are also available via the AIRS portal at GES DISC:
Data product information on CO2 and all other AIRS data products can be found at:
Alternatively, users may link to the AIRS Project public web page at JPL. The page provides a brief description of the CO2 data products, including a weighting function figure, a figure comparing the CO2 trend to the CONTRAIL in situ measurements, significant findings to date, and references to journal papers: