Natural processes are working hard to keep the carbon cycle in balance by absorbing about half of our carbon emissions, limiting the extent of climate change. There's a lot we don't know about these processes, including where they are occurring and how they might change as the climate warms. To understand and prepare for the carbon cycle of the future, we have an urgent need to find out.
This animation shows the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, the first NASA spacecraft dedicated to studying carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. In July 2014, NASA will launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) to study the fate of carbon dioxide worldwide. OCO-2 will not be the first satellite to measure carbon dioxide, but it's the first with the observational strategy, precision, resolution and coverage needed to answer these questions about these little-monitored regions.