This image shows the distribution and amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's mid-troposphere in July 2008 as measured by NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument. The overlying graph is the seasonal variation and interannual increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
The AIRS data reveal the average concentration (parts per million) over an altitude range of 3-13 kilometers (1.8 to 8 miles), whereas the Mauna Loa data show the concentration of carbon dioxide at an altitude of 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles) and its annual increase at a rate of approximately 2 parts per million (ppmv) per year.
This image is the final frame of a visualization showing the time-series of AIRS's measurements of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide from 2002 to 2008. The 30-second visualization is available at http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/story_archive/CO2_Increase_Sep2002-Jul2008/ and
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit, AMSU, senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at Earth's weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two instruments make simultaneous observations all the way down to Earth's surface, even in the presence of heavy clouds. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, three-dimensional map of atmospheric temperature and humidity, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations, and many other atmospheric phenomena. Launched into Earth orbit in 2002, the AIRS and AMSU instruments fly onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and are managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
More information about AIRS can be found at http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov.