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New NASA visualization offers disturbing portrait of the pollution in our air: 'This is the scariest thing I've ever seen'

The video is a sobering reminder.

NASA carbon video visualizes what it would look like if carbon emissions were visible

Photo Credit: iStock

A new animation from NASA visualizes what it would look like if carbon emissions were visible — and it isn't pretty.

It shows a frightening amount of pollution enveloping the Northern Hemisphere. Visualized as a light brown vapor, the pollution almost looks like a sandstorm or a hazardous gas swirling around the northern half of the globe — gradually inching its way past the equator and into the Southern Hemisphere. 

In the description accompanying the post, Futurism calls the animation "horrifying," saying "It's not always easy to conceptualize the weight of something that you can't see.⁠" 

The video is a sobering reminder of the drastic effects that dirty energy has on the environment and makes it easy to understand how emissions in the atmosphere can contribute to the dangerous overheating of our planet.

"Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prevalent greenhouse gas driving global climate change," NASA says in its blog post. "However, its increase in the atmosphere would be even more rapid without land and ocean carbon sinks, which collectively absorb about half of human emissions every year. Advanced computer modeling techniques in NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office allow us to disentangle the influences of sources and sinks and to better understand where carbon is coming from and going to."

One fascinating element of the video is its depiction of Brazil — the country, which contains a vast amount of the Amazon rainforest, looks far less affected than the surrounding areas. NASA explains that "the fast oscillation over the Amazon rainforest shows the impact of plants absorbing carbon while the sun is shining and then releasing it during nighttime hours."

In a post previewing the video on Futurism, Instagram users expressed their horror in the comment section.

"The whole world is either drowning or on fire and people still deny climate change. What will it take," one user said.

"Omggg I'm so terrified this is the scariest thing I've ever seen," another user wrote.

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