U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


New Analysis Provides Global Sulfur Dioxide Emission Trends
Published: January 09, 2013
Posted: April 18, 2013

Atmospheric aerosols from both natural and anthropogenic sources have a net cooling effect on climate by blocking incoming solar radiation and brightening clouds. Pollution aerosols also have deleterious health and environmental effects. The most important anthropogenic aerosol type is sulfate, which results from oxidation of sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide, emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline, has increased in the atmosphere since industrialization. In recent decades, however, various emission control strategies and technologies have been implemented. Ongoing monitoring of sulfur dioxide emissions is needed to track, and simulate in climate models, the extent to which aerosols may offset greenhouse gas warming in various regions. Researchers, including a U.S. Department of Energy scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), estimated sulfur dioxide emissions from 2000 through 2011. The work verified a previous PNNL study that found an increase in emissions from 2000 to 2005. The new work found that emissions have declined in recent years largely due to increased emission controls in North America and China. The study found that sulfur dioxide emissions in the recently released Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios, used by the Fifth Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), are consistent with these inventory estimates.

Reference: Klimont, Z., S. J. Smith, and J. Cofala. 2013. “The Last Decade of Global Anthropogenic Sulfur Dioxide: 2000–2011 Emissions,” Environmental Research Letters 8(1), 014003. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014003. (Reference link)

Contact: Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)