Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Global inventory of sulfur emissions with 1°×1° resolution


  • Peter A. Spiro,

  • Daniel J. Jacob,

  • Jennifer A. Logan


A global inventory of gaseous sulfur emissions with 1°×1° resolution is described. Emissions from fuel combustion and industrial activities are estimated for countries where no detailed inventories are available by using economic data for individual sulfur-emitting activities, sulfur emission factors, and information on sulfur recovery. Fuel sulfur contents are specified as a function of fuel type and country of origin and are conserved during international trading. This procedure for estimating emissions reproduces well existing inventories for countries in Europe and North America, suggesting that it can be applied with some confidence to other countries. Emissions from biomass burning, volcanoes, and oceans are derived from existing data bases and are distributed with fine spatial resolution. Emissions from terrestrial vegetation are computed as a function of leaf area index, temperature, and solar radiation. The global emission of sulfur gases in 1980 is estimated to be 102 Tg S yr−1, apportioned among fuel combustion and industrial activities (76%), marine biosphere (12%), volcanoes (9%), biomass burning (2%), and terrestrial biosphere (1%). Detailed breakdowns of anthropogenic and natural sources are given for individual countries and regions. Anthropogenic sources account for 84% of total sulfur emissions in the northern hemisphere and for 50% in the southern hemisphere. Biomass burning dominates emissions in central Africa during the dry season but is of minor importance elsewhere. Smelters dominate anthropogenic emissions in the Arctic and in the southern hemisphere. Volcanoes are significant contributors to the sulfur budget in Central America, the East Indies, and some subarctic regions.