A new animation shows that the Earth breathes carbon as the seasons change throughout the year, and parts of the globe can be seen where Earth’s plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere, but swell when these plants release carbon, and the animation was created by Professor Marcus Richstein, an ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Jena, Germany.
According to the British newspaper, “Daily Mail”, it shows the carbon cycle, the process in which carbon atoms are constantly transferred from the atmosphere to the Earth and back to the atmosphere.
Professor Richstein’s animation is based on satellite observations and hundreds of carbon monitoring stations around the world.
“Visualization is really just a fun project,” Professor Reichstein told Live Science. “This carbon cycle and how it changes from month to month tells us a lot… It basically shows how important it is to protect carbon sinks.”
Continents can be seen shrinking during spring and summer, as Earth’s plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere as they grow. Meanwhile, in winter, the continents can be seen inflating like a balloon about to explode, as plants die and release nearly all the carbon they store in Atmosphere.
The most visible carbon uptake and carbon emissions throughout the year are in the “temperate latitudes”, the parts of the Earth that lie between the subtropics and the polar circles.
This carbon cycle is less pronounced around the equator, where conditions are drier and plant life is generally less abundant (in places such as deserts).