Accounting for Global Sources of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions


DOE researcher Steven Smith from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has completed a new analysis on sulfur emissions. Smith’s study shows that after declining for a decade, worldwide sulfur emissions rose from 2000 to 2005. In what is a major new contribution to the field, Smith has accounted for the effects of technology changes on historical emissions. For the 2000-2005 increase, he has demonstrated the role of international shipping and a growing Chinese economy. The new datasets extend from 1850 through 2005 and emissions estimates are calculated for every country in the world. For the first time, regional and global uncertainties have been estimated for these emissions. Ultimately, an accurate read on sulfur emissions will help researchers predict future changes in regional and global climate and determine present-day effects on the atmosphere, health, and the environment. The data produced in this project are being used by a wide variety of researchers, including those involved in international model intercomparison.


Smith, S. J., J. van Aardenne, Z. Klimont, R. J. Andres, A. Volke, and S. Delgado Arias. 2011. “Anthropogenic Sulfur Dioxide Emissions: 1850–2005,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 11(3), 1101–1116. (DOI: 10.5194/acp-11-1101-2011.)