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Image Gallery Carbon Dioxide

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Here some figures and animations are shown illustrating our satellite-derived CO2 data products. 








(click here for German version of figure)

The figure below shows the column-averaged mixing ratio of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in parts per million (ppm). For example, 385 ppm (green) means that one million air molecules contain 385 CO2 molecules. The maps and the time series (red curve) have been derived from SCIAMACHY, a spectrometer onboard the European ENVISAT satellite. Gaps are mainly due to clouds. We retrieve CO2 only over land due to the low reflectivity of water in the near-infrared spectral region used to retrieve CO2 information from the satellite spectra of reflected solar radiation. The large map on the left shows the measured CO2 distribution covering several years of CO2 observations. Seasonal averages are shown on the right. As can be seen, coverage at high latitudes during winter is poor mainly because the sun is not high enough over the horizon. The low CO2 values during northern hemisphere summer are due to CO2 uptake by growing vegetation. Later CO2 rises again when the vegetation uptake gets weaker. This regular up and down of the CO2 (see red curve) shows that our planet is "breathing". Also clearly visible via the red curve is the steady increase of atmospheric CO2 of about 2 ppm each year. This is primarily due to emissions of CO2 due to burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas). This increase is a major concern as this leads to global warming and climate change, as CO2 is a strong "greenhouse gas":


Here a global CO2 map retrieved from TANSO/GOSAT:


CO2 "flying carpet" showing the CO2 distribution as a function of time and latitude. The data have been retrieved from SCIAMACHY on ENVISAT. The data have been smoothed in space and time to highlight the main features:


Here the first animation based on merged SCIAMACHY and GOSAT data (please click HERE for a high-resolution version of the animated gif file; click here for GERMAN version):


Here a figure showing estimated CO2 and NOx emissions over major anthropogenic source regions (details please see Reuter et al., Nature Geoscience, 2014):