Google Earth now has an application to show Earth’s carbon dioxide cycle and can show carbon dioxide in different layers of the atmosphere. Google recently held a contest to show scientific data using KML, the data format used for Google Earth. Tyler Erickson from Michigan Tech Research Institute responded to the call, and with help from NASA-funded researcher Anna Michalak of the University of Michigan, created an application to display the carbon cycle.
Complex computer models are used to trace carbon dioxide emissions and absorption. A network of 1000-foot towers throughout the USA helps measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Layers of the gas are represented using different colors, for example, the red streaks show carbon dioxide at high altitudes that is immune from ground influences, while the green tracks show CO2 in the lowest part of the atmosphere.
It took Erickson 70 hours of programming to create the working, application with constantly changing data for Google Earth. The information will help provide a better understanding of the carbon cycle, and may help educate the public and the scientists on how carbon dioxide emissions can be traced.