El Nino has contributed to higher Carbon Dioxide levels

El Nino has contributed to higher Carbon Dioxide levels

An artist's conception shows the OCO-2 satellite. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission was created to circumvent those limitations by providing a platform with which atmospheric CO2 can be measured spectrally from space over large geographic areas, thereby offering an unprecedented capability to study, in great detail, the processes that affect the concentration of the gas over a variety of spatial and temporal scales.

"OCO-2 data allowed us to quantify how the net exchange of carbon between land and "atmosphere in individual regions is affected during El Nino years", Liu added".

The deputy project scientist of OCO-2 Annmarie Eldering believes that half of the carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere, and half of it stays in oceans or is used by plants during photosynthesis. The research team of OCO-2 said that emission of carbon was in excess during the 2015-2016 El Niño, Los Angeles Times reported. And in Indonesia, dry conditions led to increased fires, which also released more carbon. Scientists have long known that carbon dioxide levels spike during an El Nino, the natural occasional warming of parts of the central Pacific that causes droughts in some places floods in others and generally adds to warmer temperatures worldwide.

Together, these regions released 2.5 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere than they did in 2011, the reference year for the study.

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It should be noted that emissions of carbon dioxide due to anthropogenic factors has remained at the same level.

Liu and Eldering are among 16 authors of the Science study, "Contrasting Carbon Cycle Responses of the Tropical Continents to the 2015-2016 El Niño".

The OCO-2 satellite, launched in 2014, is created to provide a detailed picture of how carbon is exchanged between air, land and sea. And some computer simulations say the frequency of El Nino will increase in the future with climate change, Denning said during a NASA press conference.

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