Global emissions inventories Page: 4 of 20
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GLOBAL EMISSIONS INVENTORIES
Global Climate Research Division
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
Livermore, CA 94550 U.S.A.
Many trace chemical species in the atmosphere are radiatively important and may affect
climate and air quality. Detailed and accurate emissions inventories are essential for understanding
the changing chemical composition of our atmosphere, and to establish compliance with international
agreements. Currently climate and chemistry model predictions are limited by the paucity of quality
emissions data input. This paper is designed to present a compilation of emissions inventories for
radiatively important trace species. It reports the spatial and temporal characteristics of the emissions
along with some interpretive comments.
Anthropogenic and natural factors affect the radiative forcing of the atmosphere. They have
various magnitudes and different signs. The concept of radiative forcing allows us to compare the
potential impacts of various factors. Different chemical species found in the atmosphere can affect
the radiative forcing by acting as greenhouse gases. The amount that any individual chemical can
effect the radiative balance is dependent on their concentration and their residence time in the
atmosphere, i.e. their chemical lifetime. Their chemical concentrations and lifetimes are dependent
on their sources and sinks, and/or the sources and sinks of their chemical precursors.
Carbon dioxide has received most of the attention in regard to the concerns of climate change
and greenhouse effect. Model studies have shown that the sum of the radiative effects from other
greenhouse gases, along with the indirect effects due to chemistry could be comparable to the
projected effects of CO2 alone . The names, chemical structures, along with the direct and indirect
ways these atmospheric constituents can influence the radiative forcing of the Earth/atmosphere
system are listed in Table 1.
Most of the gases listed in Table 1 are greenhouse gases, or in other words, they are
absorbers of long wave terrestrial radiation. Several of the other gases, e.g. nitrogen oxides, OH and
CO, do not directly affect climate, but are important in relation to climate change because of their
atmospheric chemical processes. They can have a strong influence on the atmospheric radiative
forcing by affecting the concentration and distribution of the greenhouse gases.
Other species can form aerosols in the atmosphere that may affect climate through scattering
of solar radiation and by altering cloud properties. From Table 1 we can see that the atmospheric
concentrations of many of these radiatively important trace species are increasing. Evidence suggests
that surface emissions, primarily from anthropogenic sources, are largely responsible for the
increasing trends, particularly for gases such as CO2, CH4, CO, N20, CFCs, and several of the
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Dignon, J. Global emissions inventories, article, July 1, 1995; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc628510/m1/4/: accessed November 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.