Spike In Atmospheric CO2 Related To El Nino

Ying Sun

An artist's conception shows the OCO-2 satellite. The journal Science published five papers on Thursday based on the study of climate change on Earth, conducted by NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), according to a report by #Los Angeles Times.

Data collected from OCO-2, including gas and photosynthesis rates, showed that forests in some tropical regions weren't gathering their usual amount of carbon.

The spikes recorded by OCO-2 indicated that the carbon dioxide emissions got a 50 percent increase in the year 2015-16 as compared to the average carbon emissions of preceding years.

The highest rates of atmospheric Carbon dioxide in 2,000 years stemmed from one of the most intense El Nino events on record, according to research published in the October 12 issue of Science.

El Nino is a cyclical warming pattern of ocean circulation in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that can affect weather worldwide. The super-sized El Nino a couple of years ago led to an increase of 3 billion tons of carbon in the air, most of the tropical land areas.

The findings suggest that, at least in some cases, higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide result from the interplay of natural conditions and human activity. This made the scientists conclude that El Nino might have driven the carbon emissions owing to less rainfall in South America and hot temperatures in Africa.

"These three tropical regions released 2.5 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere than they did in 2011", lead study author Junjie Liu of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a news release.

Jonathan Overpeck, a University of MI scientist who was not part of the study, said the research revealed that the regional links between carbon dioxide and El Nino are more complex than previously thought, and raised concern about how the earth will respond to more future warming. The team also added that these studies would help them to understand the future changes in climate.



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