Journal cover Journal topic
Earth System Science Data The Data Publishing Journal

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 8.286 IF 8.286
  • CiteScore<br/> value: 7.07 CiteScore
  • SNIP value: 2.755 SNIP 2.755
  • SJR value: 5.363 SJR 5.363
  • IPP value: 6.509 IPP 6.509
  • h5-index value: 23 h5-index 23
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 5, 165-185, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
08 May 2013
The global carbon budget 1959–2011
C. Le Quéré1, R. J. Andres2, T. Boden2, T. Conway3, R. A. Houghton4, J. I. House5, G. Marland6, G. P. Peters7, G. R. van der Werf8, A. Ahlström9, R. M. Andrew7, L. Bopp10, J. G. Canadell11, P. Ciais10, S. C. Doney12, C. Enright1, P. Friedlingstein13, C. Huntingford14, A. K. Jain15, C. Jourdain1,*, E. Kato16, R. F. Keeling17, K. Klein Goldewijk18,19,20, S. Levis21, P. Levy14, M. Lomas22, B. Poulter10, M. R. Raupach11, J. Schwinger23,24, S. Sitch25, B. D. Stocker26,27, N. Viovy10, S. Zaehle28, and N. Zeng29 1Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK
2Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA
3National Oceanic & Atmosphere Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA/ESRL), Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA
4Woods Hole Research Centre (WHRC), Falmouth, Massachusetts 02540, USA
5Cabot Institute, Dept. of Geography, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
6Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina 28608, USA
7Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO), Oslo, Norway
8Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
9Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
10Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, CE Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France
11Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, Australia
12Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
13College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
14Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK
15Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Illinois, USA
16Center for Global Environmental Research (CGER), National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Tsukuba, Japan
17University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California 92093-0244, USA
18PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague/Bilthoven, the Netherlands
19Department Innovation and Environmental Sciences (IMEW) Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
20Institute for History and Culture (OGC), Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
21National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado, USA
22Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics (CTCD), Sheffield University, UK
23Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
24Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
25College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, EX4 4RJ, Exeter, UK
26Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
27Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
28Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie, P.O. Box 600164, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
29Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, Maryland, USA
*now at: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy
Abstract. Accurate assessments 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 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 data limitations. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production (EFF) are based on energy statistics, while emissions from Land-Use Change (ELUC), including deforestation, are based on combined evidence from land cover change data, fire activity in regions undergoing deforestation, and models. The global atmospheric CO2 concentration is measured directly and its rate of growth (GATM) is computed from the concentration. The mean ocean CO2 sink (SOCEAN) is based on observations from the 1990s, while the annual anomalies and trends are estimated with ocean models. Finally, the global residual terrestrial CO2 sink (SLAND) is estimated by the difference of the other terms. For the last decade available (2002–2011), EFF was 8.3 ± 0.4 PgC yr−1, ELUC 1.0 ± 0.5 PgC yr−1, GATM 4.3 ± 0.1 PgC yr−1, SOCEAN 2.5 ± 0.5 PgC yr−1, and SLAND 2.6 ± 0.8 PgC yr−1. For year 2011 alone, EFF was 9.5 ± 0.5 PgC yr−1, 3.0 percent above 2010, reflecting a continued trend in these emissions; ELUC was 0.9 ± 0.5 PgC yr−1, approximately constant throughout the decade; GATM was 3.6 ± 0.2 PgC yr−1, SOCEAN was 2.7 ± 0.5 PgC yr−1, and SLAND was 4.1 ± 0.9 PgC yr−1. GATM was low in 2011 compared to the 2002–2011 average because of a high uptake by the land probably in response to natural climate variability associated to La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean. The global atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 391.31 ± 0.13 ppm at the end of year 2011. We estimate that EFF will have increased 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. 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 carbon budgets in the future.

All data presented here can be downloaded from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (doi:10.3334/CDIAC/GCP_V2013).

Global carbon budget 2013

Citation: Le Quéré, C., Andres, R. J., Boden, T., Conway, T., Houghton, R. A., House, J. I., Marland, G., Peters, G. P., van der Werf, G. R., Ahlström, A., Andrew, R. M., Bopp, L., Canadell, J. G., Ciais, P., Doney, S. C., Enright, C., Friedlingstein, P., Huntingford, C., Jain, A. K., Jourdain, C., Kato, E., Keeling, R. F., Klein Goldewijk, K., Levis, S., Levy, P., Lomas, M., Poulter, B., Raupach, M. R., Schwinger, J., Sitch, S., Stocker, B. D., Viovy, N., Zaehle, S., and Zeng, N.: The global carbon budget 1959–2011, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 5, 165-185, doi:10.5194/essd-5-165-2013, 2013.