Spike In Atmospheric CO2 Related To El Nino

El Nino has contributed to higher Carbon Dioxide levels

The El Nino made it more hard for plants to suck up man-made carbon emissions and sparked fires that released more carbon into the atmosphere. The phenomenon affects the weather worldwide and may last for years at a time.

These increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide were 50% larger than the average increase seen in recent years. OCO-2 has been studying Earth's climate change for the past three years and collected lots of information about carbon emission and other toxic gases which caused the rise in global temperatures.

Experts warn that in the coming decades, climate change could lead to even more such warming in the future, as severe droughts and heatwaves become more common across the planet.

Key drivers of this change in carbon emissions were lower precipitation in South America and increased temperatures in Africa. In Africa, rainfall is nearly not decreased, but the temperature rise is still accelerated the process of decomposition of dead trees and plants, which increased emissions of carbon dioxide. And in Indonesia, dry conditions led to increased fires, which also released more carbon.

"These three tropical regions released 2.5 gigatonnes (a billion tonnes) more carbon into the atmosphere than they did in 2011", said lead author of the study Junjie Liu of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, which was launched in 2014, provides more specifics on how that happens and by continent.

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.

Scientists compared 2015-16 data from the Nasa satellite in recent years to 2011 data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), because 2011 was a normal year, weather-wise, with no El Nino.

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.

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