Global emission fields of air pollutants and GHGs

A host of scientific chemistry and climate model experiments explore responses of the global atmosphere and climate systems to possible future changes in emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

AIR has developed a set of global emission fields of nine substances that provide consistent sets of future sectoral emissions for well-specified assumptions on economic development and the effectiveness of dedicated emission control policies. 

Global NOx emissions 2005

Global NOx emissions 2005


Global, developed with the GAINS model.

Emission sources:

Anthropogenic sources including international shipping (from version V5 onwards) and open burning of agricultural residue.

The emissions sets exclude some sources which can be acquired from a number of recognized studies/resources:

  • The biogenic emissions could be taken from (Gunther et al., 2012).
  • The forest and savannah fires from GFED (van de Werf et al., 2010) or from alternative remote sensing products, e.g., FINN (Wiedinmyer et al., 2011), GFAS (Kaiser et al., 2012).
  • Global aviation emission sets were developed by Lee et al (2009) and were used in the development of the Regional Concentration Pathways (RCP) (Van Vuuren et al., 2011).
  • As indicated above, prior to version V5, the emissions from international shipping are not part of the emission set and we recommended to acquire them from the sources used in RCP, i.e., Buhaug et al. (2009) and Eyring et al. (2010).


All outputs in thousand tons of pollutant per year/grid; except carbon dioxide (CO2) for which global totals are provided

  • Sulphur dioxide (as SO2)
  • Nitrogen oxides (as NO2)
  • Non-methane volatile organic compounds (as VOC)
  • Ammonia (as NH3)
  • Carbon monoxide (as CO)
  • Methane (as CH4)
  • Primary fine particulate matter distinguishing the following components: PM2.5, PM10, black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), and organic matter (OM) where OM=OC*x and typically BC+OM<PM2.5

In addition, for the ECLIPSE V5 Reference scenario, particle number emissions have been estimated by size distribution and gridded:


Depending on the version (see below), a number of scenarios are provided for which the key economic assumptions and energy use originate from IEA World Energy Outlook (IEA, 2011), the POLES model, or Energy Technology Perspectives (IEA, 2012) for the period 2010-2050, while statistical data for the period 1990-2010 came from IEA. For agriculture the FAO databases and long-term global projections were used (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012). Additionally, for the European Union the data and results from the review of the National Emission Ceiling Directive work (Amann et al., 2012, 2015) were used.

Temporal distribution:

Total annual values (in five year intervals until 2030) as well as monthly profiles of emissions; the latter are provided as monthly shares for each grid.

Spatial distribution:

0.5o x 0.5o longitude-latitude; Global total and key sectoral totals. The following sector-layers are available: energy, industry, solvent use, transport, domestic combustion, agriculture, open burning of agricultural waste, waste treatment.

Basic grid patterns originate from Global Energy Assessment (GEA, 2012) but were enhanced and further developed by the authors for several sectors or specific activities, e.g., non-ferrous metals, livestock, mineral fertilizer use. Furthermore, for gas flaring the data on location of flares from NOAA/GGFR (World Bank) were used (Elvidge et al., 2011), QUANTIFY project results were utilised for international shipping, and for the Chinese power sector data from the MEIC system (Tsinghua University, Qiang Zhang personal communication) were provided.


NetCDF (Network Common Data Form)

Available Datasets:

Version Release Date Period covered Scenarios
V3 Nov 2013 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010
No future scenarios were developed
V4a Jan 2014 2005, 2010, 2030, 2050

- Reference (assuming current legislation for air pollution – CLE),

- Maximum technically feasible reductions (MTFR)

V5 Apr 2014 1990-2030, 2040, 2050

- Reference (assuming current legislation for air pollution - CLE),

- No further control (NFC).

- Short lived climate pollutants mitigation (SLCP)

V5a Jul 2015 1990-2030, 2040, 2050

- Reference (assuming current legislation for air pollution - CLE),

- Short lived climate pollutants mitigation (SLCP),

- Maximum technically feasible reductions (MTFR),

- Climate scenario (2 degrees, CLE)

V6b Aug 2019 1990-2030, 2040, 2050

- Reference (assuming current legislation for air pollution - CLE),

- Maximum technically feasible reductions (MTFR)

How to reference?

A paper providing a comprehensive description of the PM emissions is available:

  • Klimont, Z., Kupiainen, K., Heyes, C., Purohit, P., Cofala, J., Rafaj, P., Borken-Kleefeld, J. and Schöpp, W. (2017). Global anthropogenic emissions of particulate matter including black carbon. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 8681-8723.

A further background paper describing the emission projections is in preparation for ACPD:

  • Klimont, Z., Höglund-Isaksson, L., Heyes, C., Rafaj, P., Schöpp, W., Cofala, J., Purohit, P., Borken-Kleefeld, J., Kupiainen, K., Kiesewetter, G., Winiwarter, W., Amann, M, Zhao, B., Wang, S.X., Bertok, I., Sander, R. Global scenarios of air pollutants and methane: 1990-2050. In preparation.

In addition, reference may be made to this webpage, the GAINS model (Amann et al., 2011), and the ECLIPSE project, (see text below, the Acknowledgements and Bibliography). As the background publication is submitted, the reference above will be updated.

Some elements of this global emission set have been documented already in published papers on

  • sulphur dioxide emissions in the last decade (Klimont et al., 2013);
  • methane (Höglund-Isaksson, 2012);
  • comparison of GAINS global projections to RCP (Amann et al., 2013):
  • exploring the impact of the residential sector and gas flaring using the V4a set (Stohl et al., 2013).

Recently the summary paper on the ECLIPSE project (using the V5 data set) has been published in ACP (Stohl et al., 2015) and it includes brief discussion of the scenarios.


  • European Commission 7th Framework funded projects:
    • ECLIPSE (Evaluating the Climate and Air Quality Impacts of Short-Lived Pollutants) Project no. 282688.
    • PEGASOS (Pan-European Gas-Aerosols-Climate Interaction Study) Project no. 265148.
    • ‘Assessment of hemispheric air pollution on EU air policy’ contract no. 07.0307/2011/605671/SER/C3.
  • Qiang Zhang from Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) for the spatial distribution of Chinese power plants for 2000, 2005, and 2010.
  • Uwe Remme from the International Energy Agency (IEA) for support in interpretation of the energy projections in the Energy Technology Perspectives (IEA, 2012) study.


Alexandratos, N. and Bruinsma, J. (2012) World agriculture towards 2030/2050, the 2012 revision (No. No. 12-03), ESA Working Paper. World Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome, Italy.

Amann, M., Bertok, I., Borken-Kleefeld, J., Cofala, J., Heyes, C., Höglund-Isaksson, L., Klimont, Z., Nguyen, B., Posch, M., Rafaj, P., Sander, R., Schöpp, W., Wagner, F., Winiwarter, W. (2011) Cost-effective control of air quality and greenhouse gases in Europe: modeling and policy applications. Environmental Modelling and Software 26, 1489–1501. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2011.07.012

Amann, M., J. Borken-Kleefeld, J. Cofala, C. Heyes, Z. Klimont, P. Rafaj, P. Purohit, W. Schoepp, and W. Winiwarter (2012) Future emissions of air pollutants in Europe – Current legislation baseline  and the scope for further reductions. TSAP Report #1, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria.

Amann, M., Z. Klimont, and F. Wagner (2013) Regional and Global Emissions of Air Pollutants: Recent Trends and Future Scenarios. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 38/1, 31–55.

Amann et al. (2015) Adjusted historic emission data, projections, and optimized emission reduction targets for 2030 – A comparison with COM data 2013. Part A: Results for EU-28. TSAP Report #16A, version 1.1. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria, January 2015.

Buhaug, O. et al. (2009) Second IMO GHG study 2009, International Maritime Organization (IMO), London, UK.

Elvidge, C. D., K. E. Baugh, S. Anderson, T. Ghosh, and D. Ziskin (2011) Estimation of Gas Flaring Volumes Using NASA MODIS Fire Detection Products, NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, US. [online] Available from:

Eyring, V., I. S. A. Isaksen, T. Berntsen, W. J. Collins, J. J. Corbett, O. Endresen, R. G. Grainger, J. Moldanova, H. Schlager, and D. S. Stevenson (2010) Transport impacts on atmosphere and climate: Shipping, Atmos. Environ., 44, 4735–4771. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.04.059.

IEA (2011) World Energy Outlook 2011, International Energy Agency, Paris, France.

IEA (2012) Energy Technology Perspectives. 2012 - Pathways to a Clean Energy System. OECD/IEA, International Energy Agency, Paris.

GEA (2012) Global Energy Assessment: Toward a Sustainable Future, Cambridge University Press, UK.

Guenther, A. B., X. Jiang, C. L. Heald, T. Sakulyanontvittaya, T. Duhl, L. K. Emmons, and X. Wang (2012) The Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature version 2.1 (MEGAN2.1): an extended and updated framework for modeling biogenic emissions, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 5, 1503–1560, doi:10.5194/gmdd-5-1503-2012.

Höglund-Isaksson, L. (2012), Global anthropogenic methane emissions 2005–2030: technical mitigation potentials and costs, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12(19), 9079–9096, doi:10.5194/acp-12-9079-2012

Kaiser, J. W., Heil, A., Andreae, M. O., Benedetti, A., Chubarova, N., Jones, L., Morcrette, J.-J., Razinger, M., Schultz, M. G., Suttie, M., and van der Werf, G. R.(2012), Biomass burning emissions estimated with a global fire assimilation system based on observed fire radiative power, Biogeosciences, 9, 527-554.

Klimont, Z., S. J. Smith, and J. Cofala (2013), The last decade of global anthropogenic sulfur dioxide: 2000-2011 emissions, Environ. Res. Let., 8(1), 014003, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014003

Lee, D. S., D. W. Fahey, P. M. Forster, P. J. Newton, R. C. N. Wit, L. L. Lim, B. Owen, and R. Sausen (2009) Aviation and global climate change in the 21st century, Atmos. Environ., 43, 3520–3537.

Shindell D, Kuylenstierna JCI, Vignati E, Van Dingenen R, Amann M, Klimont Z, Kupiainen K, Hoeglund-Isaksson L (et al.) (2012) Simultaneously mitigating near-term climate change and improving human health and food security. Science, 335(6065):183-189.

Stohl, A., Z. Klimont, S. Eckhardt, K. Kupiainen, V.P. Shevchenko, V.M. Kopeikin, and A.N. Novigatsky (2013) Black carbon in the Arctic: the underestimated role of gas flaring and residential combustion emissions. Atmos. Chem. & Phys., 13, 8833-8855.

Stohl, A., Aamaas, B., Amann, M., Baker, L. H., Bellouin, N., Berntsen, T. K., Boucher, O., Cherian, R., Collins, W., Daskalakis, N., Dusinska, M., Eckhardt, S., Fuglestvedt, J. S., Harju, M., Heyes, C., Hodnebrog, Ø., Hao, J., Im, U., Kanakidou, M., Klimont, Z., Kupiainen, K., Law, K. S., Lund, M. T., Maas, R., MacIntosh, C. R., Myhre, G., Myriokefalitakis, S., Olivié, D., Quaas, J., Quennehen, B., Raut, J.-C., Rumbold, S. T., Samset, B. H., Schulz, M., Seland, Ø., Shine, K. P., Skeie, R. B., Wang, S., Yttri, K. E., and Zhu, T. (2015) Evaluating the climate and air quality impacts of short-lived pollutants, Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15, 10529–10566, 2015. doi:10.5194/acp-15-10529-2015.

UNEP/WMO (2011) Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Troposheric Ozone, Nairobi, Kenya. [online] Available from:

van der Werf, G. R., Randerson, J. T., Giglio, L., Collatz, G. J., Mu, M., Kasibhatla, P. S., Morton, D. C., DeFries, R. S., Jin, Y., and van Leeuwen, T. T. (2010) Global fire emissions and the contribution of deforestation, savanna, forest, agricultural, and peat fires (1997–2009), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 11707-11735.

Van Vuuren, D. P. et al. (2011) The representative concentration pathways: an overview, Climatic Change, 109, 5–31, doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z.

Wiedinmyer, C., Akagi, S. K., Yokelson, R. J., Emmons, L. K., Al-Saadi, J. A., Orlando, J. J., and Soja, A. J.: The Fire INventory from NCAR (FINN): a high resolution global model to estimate the emissions from open burning. (2011) Geosci. Model Dev., 4, 625-641.

Print this page

Last edited: 15 November 2021


Zbigniew Klimont

Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar Pollution Management Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

Chris Heyes

Emeritus Research Scholar Pollution Management Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313