A technology-based global inventory of black and organic carbon emissions from combustion

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Abstract

[1] We present a global tabulation of black carbon (BC) and primary organic carbon (OC) particles emitted from combustion. We include emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels, open biomass burning, and burning of urban waste. Previous “bottom-up” inventories of black and organic carbon have assigned emission factors on the basis of fuel type and economic sector alone. Because emission rates are highly dependent on combustion practice, we consider combinations of fuel, combustion type, and emission controls and their prevalence on a regional basis. Central estimates of global annual emissions are 8.0 Tg for black carbon and 33.9 Tg for organic carbon. These estimates are lower than previously published estimates by 25–35%. The present inventory is based on 1996 fuel-use data, updating previous estimates that have relied on consumption data from 1984. An offset between decreased emission factors and increased energy use since the base year of the previous inventory prevents the difference between this work and previous inventories from being greater. The contributions of fossil fuel, biofuel, and open burning are estimated as 38%, 20%, and 42%, respectively, for BC, and 7%, 19%, and 74%, respectively, for OC. We present a bottom-up estimate of uncertainties in source strength by combining uncertainties in particulate matter emission factors, emission characterization, and fuel use. The total uncertainties are about a factor of 2, with uncertainty ranges of 4.3–22 Tg/yr for BC and 17–77 Tg/yr for OC. Low-technology combustion contributes greatly to both the emissions and the uncertainties. Advances in emission characterization for small residential, industrial, and mobile sources and top-down analysis combining field measurements and transport modeling with iterative inventory development will be required to reduce the uncertainties further.

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