This simulation shows one-ton blobs of carbon dioxide rising from the street in giant blue spheres.

This imagined version of New York City may look like a super-fun ball pit, but diving into it would leave you coughing and gasping for air.

Created by Carbon Visuals and the Environmental Defense Fund, the animation has giant blue balls standing in for New York's greenhouse-gas emissions in 2010 (the last year data were available). Each sphere represents one ton of carbon-dioxide vapor. Added up, they represent 54 million metric tons of climate-toasting chemicals.

The simulation shows not just the amount but rate of emission as well. Here's how the creators managed that:

54,349,650 million tons a year = 148,903 tons a day = 6,204 tons an hour = 1.72 tons a second

At standard pressure and 59 °F a metric ton of carbon dioxide gas would fill a sphere 33 feet across (density of CO₂ = 1.87 kg/m³: http://bit.ly/CO2_datasheet). If this is how New York's emissions actually emerged we would see one of these spheres emerge every 0.58 seconds.

Don't tear your head bald of hair just yet. Although the world is far from getting a hold on our warming atmosphere, New York's making a healthy effort – the 54 million tons the city released in 2010 is 12 percent less than that which poured into the sky in 2005.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  2. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  3. Equity

    What Mike Bloomberg Got Wrong About Redlining and the Financial Crisis

    Comments about New Deal-era housing discrimination made by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg echo a familiar narrative about minority homeowners.

  4. photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi
    Environment

    What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

    At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

  5. Equity

    The Presidential Candidates that Mayors Support

    Big-city mayors favor Mike Bloomberg after his late entry into the race, while leaders in smaller cities have lined up behind Pete Buttigieg.

×