To better understand how aerosols affect the atmosphere and Earth system processes, historical emissions data are necessary as a key input for modeling and analyses. A research team led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a data system, the Community Emissions Data System, which has produced a new, robust data set covering the years 1750–2014 for carbonaceous aerosols, chemically reactive gases—which are precursors to aerosol particles—and carbon dioxide.
Emissions data from different countries vary in methodology, level of detail, source coverage, and consistency across time and space. This project addressed the limitations of existing emission data inventories with a reproducible methodology applied to all emissions types, updated emissions factors, more recent estimates through 2014, and comprehensive documentation. The methodology facilitates transparency, regular updates, and the incorporation of improved information over time. This new consistent methodology will facilitate uncertainty analyses, leading to improved scientific understanding of the role of aerosols in the atmosphere.
Country-to-country differences in compiling emissions data make it difficult to construct consistent time series of past emissions across regions. This new data set contains annual estimates of CO, CH4, NH3, NOx, SO2, NMVOC, carbonaceous aerosols, and carbon dioxide for the years 1750–2014 by country, fuel, and sector, along with seasonal data. Researchers developed these data with the Community Emissions Data System (CEDS). This system integrates population, energy consumption, and other economic driver data with national and global emissions inventory data to produce consistent emissions trends over time. Key methodological developments include the use of open-source software and data, a consistent methodology for all emissions species, and the use of national inventory data sets. The CEDS software and data will be publicly available through an open-source repository to facilitate community involvement and improvement.