NASA launched OCO-2 on July 2, 2014, after the failure of the first OCO satellite.
Readings from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 have confirmed that the El Niño weather pattern of 2015-2016 was behind the biggest annual increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in millennia.
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. In Africa, higher than usual temperatures led plants to decompose much quicker, causing carbon dioxide to rapidly release into the atmosphere.
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The cyclical global climate event brought hot and dry conditions to tropical regions of South America, Africa and Indonesia, where stressed plants took in less CO2 or burned, releasing stored carbon.
The El Nino in 2015-16 impacted the amount of carbon dioxide that Earth's tropical regions released into the atmosphere, leading to a recent record spike in atmospheric CO2.
"These three tropical regions released 2.5 gigatonnes (a billion tonnes) more carbon into the atmosphere than they did in 2011". The important thing is that the carbon emissions occurring due to human activities during 2105-16 nearly remained same as previous year, but still carbon dioxide concentration increased during those years.
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OCO-2 Deputy Project Scientist Annmarie Eldering of JPL said that knowing about how the carbon cycle in these three tropical regions responded to El Nino would enable scientists to improve carbon cycle models and as a result, they will get improved predictions of how our planet may respond to similar conditions in the future.
Out of 5 studies, two studies were about 2015-2016 El Niño's impact on the carbon cycle, and one study was done to track carbon emission from Volcanoes and cities, according to Motherboard (magazine).
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