It's easy to talk about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and their effect on our planet, but visualizing them? That's hard. Thankfully, NASA has stepped up to the plate with a computer model that shows how CO2 travels across Earth's atmosphere in the space of a year. As you'll see in the clip below, a lot of gas in the northern hemisphere originates in major pollution centers across Asia, Europe and North America before it drifts across the globe. The abundance of plant life in the spring and summer quickly cuts down on CO2 levels, but the chemical comes roaring back once fall arrives -- and the concentrations are higher than NASA would like to see.
The animation isn't just for show, of course. It's part of Nature Run, a newly released simulation that lets researchers understand how CO2 builds up. You probably won't run this software outside of a lab -- it took a supercomputer 75 days to produce what you see in the video. However, it should be exceptionally useful for scientists that either want to test satellite concepts or need accurate climate predictions. NASA's work won't solve Earth's problems with greenhouse gases, but it should give you a better sense of how well (or badly) the planet is faring.