Biogeochemists Map Out Carbon Dioxide Emissions In The U.


I stumbled across this great mapping system of CO2 emmisions over at Science Daily. Whilst previous estimates of CO2 levels have been calculated per capita in the US, a new map called ‘Vulcan’ created by biogeochemists at Purdue University shows the top local and regional carbon dioxide producers in high resolution.

In the past, CO2 levels have been calculated based on population, putting the Northeast at the top of the list. Now, a new map called Vulcan reveals for the first time where the top carbon dioxide producers are in the country. The answer surprised Kevin Gurney, Ph.D., a biogeochemist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

“There are a lot more emissions in the Southeast than we previously thought, and a lot of that is because it’s not necessarily associated with where people live directly, but actually where industry and activities are,” said Dr. Gurney.

The high-resolution map shows 100 times more detail than ever before and zooms in to show greenhouse gas sources right down to factories, power plants and even roadways. An animated version of Vulcan reveals huge amounts of greenhouse gas gets blown toward the North Atlantic region.

“We’ve never had a map with this much detail and accuracy that everyone can view online,” Dr. Gurney said. (Read more @ Science Daily)

The official website (“The Vulcan Project“) has an amazing Google Earth interface, where you can map the emissions from US power producers, residential and commercial CO2 emissions at 100km2 local scale resolution. Perhaps the most interesting contrast is the maps of residential CO2 emissions when comparing Republican vs Democrat districts. Given the difference in population density between the US and Australia, it’d be interesting to see someone scale this effort to a continental scale, allowing regional comparisons and perspectives on global carbon budgets.