Gridded uncertainty in fossil fuel carbon dioxide emission maps, a CDIAC example
by Robert J Andres, Thomas A Boden, David M. Higdon
Due to a current lack of physical measurements at appropriate spatial and temporal scales, all current global maps and distributions of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (FFCO2) emissions use one or more proxies to distribute those emissions. These proxies and distribution schemes introduce additional uncertainty into these maps. This paper examines the uncertainty associated with the magnitude of gridded FFCO2 emissions. This uncertainty is gridded at the same spatial and temporal scales as the mass magnitude maps. This gridded uncertainty includes uncertainty contributions from the spatial, temporal, proxy, and magnitude components used to create the magnitude map of FFCO2 emissions. Throughout this process, when assumptions had to be made or expert judgment employed, the general tendency in most cases was toward overestimating or increasing the magnitude of uncertainty. The results of the uncertainty analysis reveal a range of 4–190 %, with an average of 120 % (2σ) for populated and FFCO2-emitting grid spaces over annual timescales. This paper also describes a methodological change specific to the creation of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) FFCO2 emission maps: the change from a temporally fixed population proxy to a temporally varying population proxy.