A Multiyear, Global Gridded Fossil Fuel CO2 Emission Data Product: Evaluation and Analysis of Results

jgraJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Volume 119, Issue 17, pages 10,213–10,231, 16 September 2014

By S. Asefi-Najafabady, P. J. Rayner, K. R. Gurney, A. McRobert, Y. Song, K. Coltin, J. Huang, C. Elvidge, and K. Baugh

“High-resolution, global quantification of fossil fuel CO2 emissions is emerging as a critical need in carbon cycle science and climate policy. We build upon a previously developed fossil fuel data assimilation system (FFDAS) for estimating global high-resolution fossil fuel CO2 emissions. We have improved the underlying observationally based data sources, expanded the approach through treatment of separate emitting sectors including a new pointwise database of global power plants, and extended the results to cover a 1997 to 2010 time series at a spatial resolution of 0.1°. Long-term trend analysis of the resulting global emissions shows subnational spatial structure in large active economies such as the United States, China, and India.

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“These three countries, in particular, show different long-term trends and exploration of the trends in nighttime lights, and population reveal a decoupling of population and emissions at the subnational level. Analysis of shorter-term variations reveals the impact of the 2008–2009 global financial crisis with widespread negative emission anomalies across the U.S. and Europe. We have used a center of mass (CM) calculation as a compact metric to express the time evolution of spatial patterns in fossil fuel CO2 emissions.

Movement of the center of mass of global emissions from 1997 to 2010.

Movement of the center of mass of global emissions from 1997 to 2010.

“The global emission CM has moved toward the east and somewhat south between 1997 and 2010, driven by the increase in emissions in China and South Asia over this time period. Analysis at the level of individual countries reveals per capita CO2 emission migration in both Russia and India. The per capita emission CM holds potential as a way to succinctly analyze subnational shifts in carbon intensity over time. Uncertainties are generally lower than the previous version of FFDAS due mainly to an improved nightlight data set.”

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