Robbie Andrew

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Global Carbon Budget 2012


Abstract

Accurate assessment of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and their redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere is important to better understand the global carbon cycle, support the climate policy process, and project future climate change. Present-day analysis requires the combination of a range of 5 data, algorithms, statistics and model estimates and their interpretation by a broad scientific community. Here we describe datasets and a methodology developed by the global carbon cycle science community to quantify all major components of the global carbon budget, including their uncertainties. We discuss changes compared to previous estimates, consistency within and among components, and methodology and 10 data limitations. Based on energy statistics, we estimate that the global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion and cement production were 9.5 ± 0.5 PgC yr-1 in 2011, 3.0 percent above 2010 levels. We project these emissions will increase by 2.6% (1.9-3.5%) in 2012 based on projections of Gross World Product and recent changes in the carbon intensity of the economy. Global net CO2 emissions from 15 Land-Use Change, including deforestation, are more difficult to update annually because of data availability, but combined evidence from land cover change data, fire activity in regions undergoing deforestation and models suggests those net emissions were 0.9 ± 0.5 PgC yr-1 in 2011. The global atmospheric CO2 concentration is measured directly and reached 391.38 ± 0.13 ppm at the end of year 2011, increasing 20 1.70 ± 0.09 ppm yr-1 or 3.6±0.2 PgC yr-1 in 2011. Estimates from four ocean models suggest that the ocean CO2 sink was 2.6±0.5 PgC yr-1 in 2011, implying a global residual terrestrial CO2 sink of 4.1±0.9 PgC yr-1. All uncertainties are reported as ±1 sigma (68% confidence assuming Gaussian error distributions that the real value lies within the given interval), reflecting the current capacity to characterise the annual estimates of each component of the global carbon budget. This paper is intended to provide a baseline to keep track of annual budgets in the future.
open access This article is available without charge

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