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Identifying Excessive Carbon Dioxide Emissions on Earth


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NASA’s new map shows Earth’s carbon dioxide super-emitters, showing how much greenhouse gases are emitted by more than 100 countries.

China and the US top the list, followed by India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Mexico, Iran, Japan and Germany. The UK is not far behind some of these countries, along with the rest of Western Europe, Australia, Kazakhstan, most of North Africa, South Africa, Chile, Thailand and the Philippines.

Satellite measurements from the NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) mission helped launch the pilot project.

It estimates both the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in each country and the amount removed from the atmosphere by forests or other carbon “sinks” within their borders.

The study opens up a new perspective for scientists as it tracks both fossil fuel emissions and overall changes in carbon “stocks” in ecosystems such as trees, shrubs and soils.

“NASA is focused on providing earth science data that addresses real-world climate issues — like helping governments around the world measure the impact of efforts to reduce carbon emissions,” said Karen Saint-Germain, director of NASA’s Geosciences Division. to measure carbon emissions in a way that meets user needs.”

The international study used both data from the OCO-2 mission and a surface observing network to estimate increases and decreases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations between 2015 and 2020.

This allowed the researchers to balance how much carbon dioxide the world’s countries emit and remove over a five-year period, using the so-called top-down method.

Traditionally, scientists have used a bottom-up approach to estimate the amount of CO2 that countries emit into the Earth’s atmosphere.

But this requires significant resources, experience and knowledge, since it involves calculating the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in all sectors of the economy, such as transport and agriculture.

Bottom-up methods may also not have the full effect of certain actions, such as recording, because they are not fully known.

That’s why the researchers think their top-down approach could be especially helpful.

For example, the study includes data for more than 50 countries that have not reported emissions for at least the past 10 years.

This information also helps track the fluctuations in carbon dioxide associated with land cover changes.

Emissions from deforestation alone account for a significant portion of total carbon emissions in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, while evidence shows that reforestation in other parts of the world has helped reduce atmospheric carbon emissions.

Study author Philippe Cialis of the Laboratory for Climate and Environmental Sciences in France said: “Our top-down estimates provide an independent estimate of these emissions and removals, so while they cannot replace a detailed process understanding for traditional bottom-up methods, we can test both approaches for the sake of consistency. .

A new study reveals a complex picture of how carbon moves through the land, oceans and atmosphere.

It also takes into account the direct human impact on greenhouse gases, not only in some countries, but also in regions where humans have minimal impact and therefore can reduce global warming.

“National inventories are designed to track how management policies affect carbon emissions and removals,” said study author Noel Cressy, a professor at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

However, the atmosphere doesn’t care if carbon dioxide is released from deforestation in the Amazon or wildfires in the Canadian Arctic.

Both processes will increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and lead to climate change.

Therefore, it is essential to monitor the carbon balance in unmanaged ecosystems and to detect any changes in carbon sequestration.

The researchers hope to further refine the collected data to understand how emissions are changing in individual countries.

Source: Daily Mail

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