The Vulcan Version 3.0 High-Resolution Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions for the United States

Kevin R. Gurney, Jianming Liang, Risa Patarasuk, Yang Song, Jianhua Huang, Geoffrey Roest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Estimates of high-resolution greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have become a critical component of climate change research and an aid to decision makers considering GHG mitigation opportunities. The “Vulcan Project” is an effort to estimate bottom-up carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production (FFCO2) for the U.S. landscape at space and time scales that satisfy both scientific and policy needs. Here, we report on the Vulcan version 3.0 which quantifies emissions at a resolution of 1 km2/hr for the 2010–2015 time period. We estimate 2011 FFCO2 emissions of 1,589.9 TgC with a 95% confidence interval of 1,367/1,853 TgC (−14.0%/+16.6%), implying a one-sigma uncertainty of ~ ±8%. Per capita emissions are larger in states dominated by electricity production and industrial activity and smaller where onroad and building emissions dominate. The U.S. FFCO2 emissions center of mass (CoM) is located in the state of Missouri with mean seasonality that moves on a near-elliptical NE/SW path. Comparison to ODIAC, a global gridded FFCO2 emissions estimate, shows large total emissions differences (100.4 TgC for year 2011), a spatial correlation of 0.68 (R2), and a mean absolute relative difference at the 1 km2 scale of 104.3%. The Vulcan data product offers a high-resolution estimate of FFCO2 emissions in every U.S. city, obviating costly development of self-reported urban inventories. The Vulcan v3.0 annual gridded emissions data product can be downloaded from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (Gurney, Liang, et al., 2019,

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JD032974
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 16 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • CO emissions
  • climate change
  • climate policy
  • data mining
  • emissions model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


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