Quantifying fossil fuel emissions based on atmospheric radiocarbon within a Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System - 14C-FFDAS

Project: ResearchInterdisciplinary research, International collaboration


The negative impacts evidently caused by global temperature increases (global warming) are enhancing efforts by
national governments, regional authorities and private stakeholders to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
responsible for global warming. On an international level the COP21 Paris Agreement obliges member states of
the agreement to take climate action by implementing GHG emission reduction policies. Measuring the
effectiveness of such GHG emission reduction policies against agreed-upon international targets (known as the
Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs) requires accurate and precise estimates of emissions and their
Here, we will develop a reliable and transparent method for quantifying fossil fuel C O emissions including an
estimate of uncertainty for Europe across countries, local regions and larger cities consistent with independent
atmospheric and socioeconomic observations over the years 2007-16. We will achieve this by combining highprecision
observations of atmospheric CO2 and radiocarbon 14CO2 with a model of fossil fuel emissions in a Fossil
Fuel Data Assimilation System (FFDAS). 14CO2 is an ideal tracer to separate continental biogenic from fossil fuel
CO2 emissions because fossil fuel CO2 emissions are free of 14CO2 (due to radioactice decay). The improved
knowledge on fossil fuel CO2 emissions provides policy-relevant information to track progress of mitigation efforts
and to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Effective start/end date2018/12/012023/11/30

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)
  • University of Melbourne
  • Heidelberg University