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CO2 Weather Movies - CT2010
The distribution of CO2 in the atmosphere is affected by sources and sinks at the earth's surface, and by atmospheric transport (principally, winds and convection). Large scale seasonal and spatial patterns in CO2 distribution can be observed directly from observations at discrete locations, but it is also quite interesting to look at the simulated global CO2 distribution. In particular, simulations like CarbonTracker can highlight coherent short term patterns due to weather itself. The movies also show the rapid zonal mixing of the atmosphere; CO2 emitted in the USA, for example, can reach Asia in a couple weeks.

Presented here are animations of CO2 concentration in the free troposphere (above the planetary boundary layer, but below the tropopause) as simulated by CarbonTracker. This layer is chosen to highlight synoptic-scale variations of CO2--specifically, transport of carbon dioxide by weather systems--without being dominated by local variations at the surface due to regional fluxes. Technically, the plotted quantity is the pressure-weighted average of dry mole fraction of CO2 in the model levels representing the free troposphere. The "free troposphere" in this case is levels 5 through 10 of the TM5 model before 2005, and levels 6 through 10 after (due to an improvement in the vertical resolution for 2006 onwards). This corresponds to about 1.2km above the ground to about 5.5km above ground, or in pressure terms, about 850 hPa to about 500 hPa (one hectopascal, hPa, is equal to one millibar).

The images are created by superimposing the "zoom" region 1° longitude by 1° latitude United States grid results onto the relatively coarse 3° longitude by 2° latitude global grid. No lateral interpolation is performed, so individual grid boxes can be discerned.

The movies are available in Quicktime and animated GIF format. Quicktime player software is available for Mac OS X and Windows from Apple's Quicktime page. For Linux, we recommend either MPlayer or VLC. MPlayer and VLC are both available for Linux, OS X, and Windows.

These movies were created from the netCDF CarbonTracker output using GMT, the netCDF operators and Apple's Quicktime Pro.

There are 2 map projections (a global Hammer projection and an orthographic view over North America) available for each year.

Hammer global projection

YearQuicktime movieAnimated GIF
2000[57 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2001[57 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2002[57 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2003[57 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2004[58 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2005[58 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2006[57 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2007[57 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2008[57 megabyte .mov file][23 megabyte .gif file]
2000-2008[517 megabyte .mov file][211 megabyte .gif file]

Orthographic view over North America

YearQuicktime movieAnimated GIF
2000[44 megabyte .mov file][20 megabyte .gif file]
2001[44 megabyte .mov file][20 megabyte .gif file]
2002[45 megabyte .mov file][20 megabyte .gif file]
2003[45 megabyte .mov file][20 megabyte .gif file]
2004[45 megabyte .mov file][19 megabyte .gif file]
2005[45 megabyte .mov file][20 megabyte .gif file]
2006[44 megabyte .mov file][19 megabyte .gif file]
2007[44 megabyte .mov file][19 megabyte .gif file]
2008[44 megabyte .mov file][20 megabyte .gif file]
2000-2008[399 megabyte .mov file][172 megabyte .gif file]