Greenhouse Gases Data Pathfinder - Find Data

This pathfinder provides data to commonly-used data on greenhouse gases and is geared towards researchers in need of satellite, airborne, or ground-based data on climate-warming gases. The pathfinder highlights data on carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, and water vapor.

Carbon Dioxide

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Global average carbon dioxide concentrations for July 2017 measured by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2).

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important greenhouse gas that is released through human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, as well as natural processes such as plant respiration and volcanic eruptions. Once CO2 is added to the atmosphere, it persists for a long time: between 300 to 1,000 years. Humans have increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by about 47% since the Industrial Revolution began.

Satellite Data

Airborne Data

  • Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE)
    CARVE is an Earth Venture Suborbital-1 (EVS-1) mission funded in 2010 as part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Mission. From 2011 through 2015, CARVE collected detailed measurements of greenhouse gases in the Alaskan Arctic and developed models to quantify Arctic carbon fluxes and carbon cycle-climate processes. CARVE provides an integrated set of greenhouse gas data that provide experimental insights into Arctic carbon cycling.

  • Atmospheric Tomography Mission (ATom)
    ATom is a NASA Earth Venture Suborbital-2 (EVS-2) mission to study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere. ATom deployed an extensive gas and aerosol payload on NASA's DC-8 aircraft for systematic, global-scale sampling of the atmosphere, profiling continuously from 0.2 to 12 km altitude. Around-the-world flights were conducted in each of the four seasons between 2016 and 2018.

  • Atmospheric Carbon and Transport - America (ACT-America)
    ACT-America is a NASA EVS-2 mission that studied the transport and fluxes of atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane. Starting in the summer of 2016, ACT-America conducted five airborne campaigns across three regions in the Eastern United States to study the transport and fluxes of these two gases. The final campaign concluded in the summer of 2019.

  • Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)
    In 2017, NASA's ABoVE used aircraft equipped with the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer - Next Generation (AVIRIS-NG) instrument to fly over 11,583 mi2 (30,000 km2) of the Arctic landscape to measure carbon monoxide (CO), CO2, CH4, and H2O concentrations.

Ground Data

  • Database of Road Transportation Emissions (DARTE)
    The DARTE dataset provides a 38-year inventory of annual on-road carbon dioxide emissions for the conterminous United States. The dataset is 1-km resolution and is based on roadway-level vehicle traffic data and state-specific emissions factors for multiple vehicle types on urban and rural roads.

  • North American Carbon Program (NACP)
    The NACP is a multidisciplinary research program designed to improve understanding of North America's carbon sources, sinks, and stocks. NACP compiles data from the following independent atmospheric monitoring networks: Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment, Comprehensive Oculomotor Behavioral Response Assessment, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment-A (INTEX-A), INTEX-B, Irvine Latitude Network, NOAA Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, Scripps, and Stanley Tyler-UC Irvine. The primary focus of this effort was the compilation of non-CO2 greenhouse gases over North America, but numerous CO2 observations are also included. The NACP is supported by a number of different federal agencies.

  • Vulcan
    The Vulcan project provides estimates of CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and from cement production for the conterminous United States and the state of Alaska. The emissions data from Vulcan are categorized into 10 source sectors, including residential, commercial, industrial, electricity production, on-road, non-road, commercial marine vessel, airport, rail, and cement. Data are gridded annually on a 1-km grid for the years 2010 to 2015.

  • Coastal Wetland Elevation and Carbon Flux Inventory
    The Coastal Wetland Elevation and Carbon Flux Inventory dataset provides maps of coastal wetland carbon and methane fluxes and coastal wetland surface elevation from 2006 to 2011 at 30-meter resolution for coastal wetlands of the conterminous United States. Total coastal wetland carbon flux per year per pixel was calculated by combining maps of wetland type and change with soil, biomass, and methane flux data from a literature review.

Methane

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Average methane concentrations for January 2016, measured by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite. NASA Earth Observatory map by Joshua Stevens.

Methane (CH4) is much less abundant in the atmosphere than CO2, but it’s also more powerful. On a per-pound-basis, CH4 is 30 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat over 100 years, which makes it the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas. Sources of methane emissions include livestock production, rice fields, oil and gas production, landfills, biomass burning, and natural sources such as microbial processes in wetlands. Methane concentrations are now 150% higher than in the mid 19th century.

Satellite Data

Airborne Data

  • Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)
    In 2017, NASA's ABoVE used aircraft equipped with the AVIRIS-NG instrument to fly over 11,583 mi2 (30,000 km2) of the Arctic landscape to measure methane concentrations.

  • Methane Sources, Vista California and the California Methane Survey
    The Vista California datasets provide locations of potential CH4 emitting facilities and infrastructure spanning the state of California, created from an assortment of publicly available data sources from local, state, and federal agencies for the years 2005 to 2019. Often referred to collectively as Vista-CA, these data consist of detailed spatial maps for facilities and infrastructure in California that are known or expected sources of CH4 emissions and illustrate the spatial distribution of potential CH4 sources. The final Vista-CA database contains over 900,000 entries, which are presented as 15 methane-emitting infrastructure maps. The database is instrumental to the California Methane Survey, an ongoing project to measure CH4 emissions in California with the AVIRIS-NG instrument.

  • CARVE
    CARVE is an Earth Venture Suborbital-1 (EVS-1) mission funded in 2010 as part of NASA's ESSP Mission. From 2011 through 2015, CARVE collected detailed measurements of greenhouse gases in the Alaskan Arctic and developed models to quantify Arctic carbon fluxes and carbon cycle-climate processes. CARVE provides an integrated set of greenhouse gas data that provide experimental insights into Arctic carbon cycling.

  • ACT-America
    ACT-America is a NASA EVS-2 mission that studied the transport and fluxes of atmospheric CO2 and CH4. Starting in the summer of 2016, ACT-America conducted five airborne campaigns across three regions in the Eastern United States to study the transport and fluxes of these two gases.

  • ATom
    ATom is a NASA EVS-2 mission to study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere. ATom deployed an extensive gas and aerosol payload on NASA's DC-8 aircraft for systematic, global-scale sampling of the atmosphere, profiling continuously from 0.2 to 12 km altitude. Around-the-world flights were conducted in each of the four seasons between 2016 and 2018.

Nitrous Oxide

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Nitrous oxide concentrations for April 4, 2021, measured by the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) instrument aboard the joint NASA/multi-national Aura satellite.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas that is about 100 times more potent per pound than carbon dioxide over 100 years. N2O is emitted from agricultural soil management, the combustion of fossil fuels, industrial activities, and manure management. N2O is also a stratospheric-ozone-depleting substance.

Satellite Data

  • Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS)
    The MLS instrument aboard NASA's Aura satellite makes measurements of atmospheric composition, temperature, humidity, and cloud ice that are needed to track the stability of the stratospheric ozone layer, help improve predictions of climate change and variability, and help improve understanding of global air quality. Near real-time (NRT) N2O data are available through LANCE.

  • TES
    TES is an instrument aboard NASA's Aura satellite, and was launched on July 15, 2004. TES provided measurements of O3, H2O, CO, CH4, N2O, and HNO3 for 16 orbits every other day. Data collection for TES was completed in January 2018.

  • High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS)
    Launched in 2004, HIRDLS is an instrument aboard NASA's Aura satellite. The science goals of HIRDLS were to observe global distribution of temperature and concentrations of O3, H2O, CH4, N2O, NO2, HNO3, dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5), CFC-11, CFC-12, and chlorine nitrate (ClONO2). After launch, activation of the HIRDLS instrument revealed that the optical path was blocked so that only 20% of the aperture could view Earth's atmosphere. However, even with the 80% blockage, measurements at high vertical resolution could be made at one scan angle. HIRDLS stopped recording observations in March 2008.

Airborne Data

  • ATom
    ATom is a NASA EVS-2 mission to study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere. ATom deployed an extensive gas and aerosol payload on NASA's DC-8 aircraft for systematic, global-scale sampling of the atmosphere, profiling continuously from 0.2 to 12 km altitude. Around-the-world flights were conducted in each of the four seasons between 2016 and 2018.

  • ACT-America
    ACT-America is a NASA EVS-2 mission that studied the transport and fluxes of atmospheric CO2 and CH4. Starting in the summer of 2016, ACT-America conducted five airborne campaigns across three regions in the Eastern United States to study the transport and fluxes of these two gases. The final campaign concluded in the summer of 2019.

Ozone

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Ozone concentrations for December 16, 2017 (in Dobson Units [DU]) measured by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) aboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite (Suomi NPP). Image by NASA’s NPP Ozone Science Team.

Ozone (O3) is present both in the troposphere (or lower atmosphere) and the stratosphere (the layer above the troposphere), but has different impacts in each layer. In the troposphere, O3 serves as a potent greenhouse gas and air pollutant that can aggravate existing health problems in humans, especially those with respiratory illnesses. O3 forms from chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), emitted primarily from cars, power plants, and other industrial facilities. These reactions take place in the presence of sunlight, and unhealthy levels of O3 are most often observed on very sunny days and in urban environments. In the stratosphere, O3 protects humans, plants, and animals from harmful UV radiation.

Satellite Data

Airborne Data

  • ATom
    ATom is a NASA EVS-2 mission to study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere. ATom deployed an extensive gas and aerosol payload on NASA's DC-8 aircraft for systematic, global-scale sampling of the atmosphere, profiling continuously from 0.2 to 12 km altitude. Around-the-world flights were conducted in each of the four seasons between 2016 and 2018.
  • ACT-America
    ACT-America is a NASA EVS-2 mission that studied the transport and fluxes of atmospheric CO2 and CH4. Starting in the summer of 2016, ACT-America conducted five airborne campaigns across three regions in the Eastern United States to study the transport and fluxes of these two gases. The final campaign concluded in the summer of 2019.

 

Chlorofluorocarbons

CFCs are greenhouse gases that trap substantially more heat than CO2. Per pound, CFCs can be thousands or tens of thousands times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. These gases also deplete the protective ozone layer in the stratosphere. CFCs were first used in the 1930s as refrigerants and propellants for chemical sprays. Two years after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1985, nations of the world signed the Montreal Protocol, which regulated ozone-depleting compounds and eventually phased out the production of CFCs.

Satellite Data

  • HIRDLS
    Launched in 2004, HIRDLS is an instrument aboard NASA's Aura satellite. The science goals of HIRDLS are to observe global distribution of temperature and concentrations of O3, H2O, CH4, N2O, NO2, HNO3, N2O5, CFC-11, CFC-12, and ClONO2. After launch, activation of the HIRDLS instrument revealed that the optical path was blocked so that only 20% of the aperture could view Earth's atmosphere. However, even with 80% blockage, measurements at high vertical resolution could be made at one scan angle. HIRDLS stopped recording observations in March 2008.

Airborne Data

  • ATom
    ATom is a NASA EVS-2 mission to study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere. ATom deployed an extensive gas and aerosol payload on NASA's DC-8 aircraft for systematic, global-scale sampling of the atmosphere, profiling continuously from 0.2 to 12 km altitude. Around-the-world flights were conducted in each of the four seasons between 2016 and 2018.

Water Vapor

Water vapor (H2O) is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Heat radiated from Earth's surface is absorbed by H2O molecules in the lower atmosphere. H2O also plays an important role in weather and the hydrologic cycle. Changing temperatures can alter the amount of H2O in the atmosphere. As the atmosphere warms, it can hold more H2O which then causes more warming, creating a feedback loop.

Satellite Data

  • AIRS instrument
    Data from the AIRS instrument, aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite, provide 3D measurements of temperature, H2O, trace gases, and surface and cloud properties through the atmospheric column. AIRS data are used by weather prediction centers around the world to improve their forecasts. They also are used to assess the skill of climate models and in applications ranging from volcanic plume detection to drought forecasting.

  • MLS instrument
    The MLS instrument aboard NASA's Aura satellite makes measurements of atmospheric composition, temperature, humidity, and cloud ice that are needed to track the stability of the stratospheric ozone layer, help improve predictions of climate change and variability, and help improve understanding of global air quality. MLS water vapor data are available as daily, monthly, and near real-time (NRT) products.

  • Cross-track Infrared and Microwave Sounding Suite (CrIMSS)
    NASA's Sounder Science Investigator-led Processing System (Sounder SIPS) is responsible for processing and reprocessing data products from two instruments aboard the Suomi NPP satellite: the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) and the Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), collectively referred to as CrIMSS. Sounder SIPS global gridded H2O products use the scientific algorithm software from the Suomi NPP Science Team’s Sounder Discipline Group.

  • TES
    TES is an instrument aboard NASA's Aura satellite, which launched on July 15, 2004. TES provided measurements of O3, H2O, CO, CH4, NO2, and HNO3 for 16 orbits every other day. Data collection for TES was completed in January 2018. TES data are available in daily and monthly averages.

Airborne Data

  • ATom
    ATom is a NASA EVS-2 mission to study the impact of human-produced air pollution on greenhouse gases and on chemically reactive gases in the atmosphere. ATom deployed an extensive gas and aerosol payload on NASA's DC-8 aircraft for systematic, global-scale sampling of the atmosphere, profiling continuously from 0.2 to 12 km altitude. Around-the-world flights were conducted in each of the four seasons between 2016 and 2018.

  • CARVE
    CARVE is an Earth Venture Suborbital mission funded in 2010 as part of NASA's ESSP Mission. From 2011 through 2015, CARVE collected detailed measurements of greenhouse gases in the Alaskan Arctic and developed models to quantify Arctic carbon fluxes and carbon cycle-climate processes. CARVE provides an integrated set of greenhouse gas data that provides experimental insights into Arctic carbon cycling.

  • ABoVE
    In 2017, NASA's ABoVE used aircraft equipped with the AVIRIS-NG instrument to fly over 11,583 mi2 (30,000 km2) of the Arctic landscape to measure CO, CO2, CH4, and H2O concentrations.

Last Updated
Feb 11, 2021