March 5, 2018

New Historical Emissions Trends Estimated with the Community Emissions Data System (CEDS)

The data system will allow for more detailed, consistent, and up-to-date global emissions trends that will aid in understanding aerosol effects on Earth system processes

Scientists are working to better understand how aerosols affect the atmosphere and Earth system processes.

The Science

To better understand how aerosols affect the atmosphere and Earth system processes, historical emissions data are necessary as a key input for modeling and analyses.

A research team led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a data system, the Community Emissions Data System, which has produced a new, robust data set covering the years 1750-2014 for carbonaceous aerosols, chemically reactive gases—which are precursors to aerosol particles—and carbon dioxide.

The Impact

Emissions data from different countries vary in methodology, level of detail, source coverage, and consistency across time and space. This project addressed the limitations of existing emission data inventories with a reproducible methodology applied to all emissions types, updated emissions factors, more recent estimates through 2014, and comprehensive documentation. The methodology facilitates transparency, regular updates, and the incorporation of improved information over time.

This new consistent methodology will facilitate uncertainty analyses, leading to improved scientific understanding of the role of aerosols in the atmosphere.


Country-to-country differences in compiling emissions data make it difficult to construct consistent time series of past emissions across regions. This new data set contains annual estimates of CO, CH4, NH3, NOx, SO2, NMVOC, carbonaceous aerosols, and carbon dioxide for the years 1750-2014 by country, fuel, and sector, along with seasonal data. Researchers developed these data with the Community Emissions Data System (CEDS). This system integrates population, energy consumption, and other economic driver data with national and global emissions inventory data to produce consistent emissions trends over time.

Key methodological developments include the use of open-source software and data, a consistent methodology for all emissions species, and the use of national inventory data sets. The CEDS software and data will be publicly available through an open-source repository to facilitate community involvement and improvement.


Sponsors: This research was based on work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of ScienceBiological and Environmental Research as part of the Earth System Modelingprogram. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP), award NNH15AZ64I, provided additional support for the development of the gridded data algorithm.

Reference: R.M. Hoesly, S.J. Smith, L. Feng, Z. Klimont, G. Janssens-Maenhout, T. Pitkanen, J.J. Seibert, L. Vu, R.J. Andres, R.M. Bolt, T.C. Bond, L. Dawidowski, N. Kholod, J. Kurokawa, M. Li, L. Liu, Z. Lu, M.C.P. Moura, P.R. O’Rourke, Q. Zhang, “Historical (1750–2014) Anthropogenic Emissions of Reactive Gases and Aerosols from the Community Emissions Data System (CEDS).” Geoscientific Model Development 11, 369-408 (2018). [DOI: 10.5194/gmd-11-369-2018]

Key Capabilities

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About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: March 5, 2018

Rachel M. Hoesly, Leyang Feng, Tyler Pitkanen, Jonathan J. Seibert, Linh Vu, Ryan M. Bolt, Nazar Kholod, Maria Cecilia P. Moura, and Patrick R. O'Rourke, PNNL (Joint Global Change Research Institute)
Steven J. Smith, PNNL (JGCRI)/University of Maryland
Zbigniew Klimont, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Austria)
Greet Janssens-Maenhout, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Directorate Energy, Transport & Climate (Italy)
Robert J. Andres, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Tami C. Bond and Liang Liu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Laura Dawidowski, Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (Argentina)
June-ichi Kurokawa, Japan Environmental Sanitation Center, Asia Center for Air Pollution Research, Atmospheric Research Department, Niigata (Japan)
Meng Li and Qiang Zhang, Tsinghua University (China)
Zifeng Lu, Argonne National Laboratory