The new Vulcan maps assimilate fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions data that was previously available from disparate sources and in different formats into one comprehensive data product. The fine level of detail offers more accuracy for estimating the fossil fuel contribution to the global carbon budget, the balance of carbon absorbed by Earth and released into the atmosphere. The Vulcan data product provides new scientific opportunities to assess the relationship between fossil fuel emissions and climate in the atmosphere and to see what future variability and extremes may bring.
"One of the goals of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program is to assist with scientifically based formulation of policy and decision making," said Peter Griffith, director of the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and coordinator of the North American Carbon Program. "By allowing non-specialists to see changes in carbon dioxide emissions in time and across broad areas, we're helping them to understand critical information for climate change policy decisions."
Vulcan Project data and maps will complement observations from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder on NASA's Aqua spacecraft and the upcoming Orbiting Carbon Observatory, which is set to launch next week. This mission will use space-based instruments to precisely make the first global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the accuracy and geographic coverage required to improve estimates of the sources and sinks of the greenhouse gas.
Gurney and colleagues now have a second phase of NASA-funded work underway to create similar inventories of carbon dioxide emissions for Canada and Mexico.
|Contact: Sarah DeWitt|
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center