April 12, 2023
Journal Article

National CO2 budgets (2015–2020) inferred from atmospheric CO2 observations in support of the Global Stocktake


Accurate accounting of carbon stock changes is critical for the planning and verification of emission reduction targets in support of the Paris Agreement. Here, we present a pilot dataset of country-specific net carbon exchange (NCE; fossil plus terrestrial ecosystem fluxes) and terrestrial carbon stock changes aimed at informing countries’ carbon budgets. These estimates are based on “top-down” NCE outputs from the v10 Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) modeling intercomparison project (MIP), wherein an ensemble of inverse modeling groups conducted standardized experiments assimilating OCO-2 column- averaged dry-air mole fraction (XCO2 ) retrievals (ACOS v10), in situ CO2 measurements, or combinations of these data. The v10 OCO-2 MIP NCE estimates are combined with “bottom-up” estimates of fossil fuel emissions and lateral carbon fluxes to estimate changes in terrestrial carbon stocks, which are impacted by anthropogenic and natural drivers. These flux and stock change estimates are reported annually (2015–2020) as both a global 1? × 1? gridded dataset and as a country-level dataset. Across the v10 OCO-2 MIP experiments, we obtain increases in the ensemble median terrestrial carbon stocks of 3.29–4.58 PgCO2 yr-1 (0.90–1.25 PgCyr-1). This is a result of broad increases in terrestrial carbon stocks across the northern extratropics, while the tropics generally have stock losses but with considerable regional variability and differences between v10 OCO-2 MIP experiments. We discuss the state of the science for tracking changes in terrestrial carbon stocks using top-down methods, including current limitations and future developments towards top-down monitoring and verification systems.

Published: April 12, 2023


Byrne B., D. Baker, S. Basu, M. Bertolacci, K. Bowman, D. Carroll, and A. Chatterjee, et al. 2023. National CO2 budgets (2015–2020) inferred from atmospheric CO2 observations in support of the Global Stocktake. Earth System Science Data 15, no. 2:963–1004. PNNL-SA-174797. doi:10.5194/essd-15-963-2023