Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 2945-2983, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Analysis of emission data from global commercial aviation: 2004 and 2006
J. T. Wilkerson1, M. Z. Jacobson1, A. Malwitz2, S. Balasubramanian2, R. Wayson2, G. Fleming2, A. D. Naiman3, and S. K. Lele3
1Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
2Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, US Department of Transportation, Cambridge, MA, USA
3Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Abstract. The global commercial aircraft fleet in 2006 flew more than 31 million flights, burned nearly 190 million metric tons of fuel, and covered 38 billion kilometers. This activity emitted substantial amounts of fossil-fuel combustion products within the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere that affect atmospheric composition and climate. The emissions products, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, sulfur compounds, and particulate matter, are not emitted uniformly over the Earth, so understanding the temporal and spatial distributions is an important component for modeling aviation climate impacts. Here, we analyze global commercial aircraft emission data for 2004 and 2006. Data, provided by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, were computed using the Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Environmental Design Tool. For both years, analysis of flight data shows 93 percent of fuel was burned in the Northern Hemisphere, 69 percent between 30 N and 60 N latitudes; 77 (75) percent was burned above 7 km in 2004 (2006). This activity led to 177 (162) Tg of carbon from CO2 globally in 2004 (2006), with half being emitted over three dominant regions: United States, Europe, East Asia. The difference between 2004 and 2006 is a result of fewer flights in 2006 and the methodology used to compute fuel burn and emissions from those flights. We also show that despite receiving only a few percent of global emissions, the Arctic receives a concentration of emissions of the same order of magnitude as the global average. The following is a summary of this data which illustrates the global and regional aviation emissions footprints for 2004 and 2006, and provides temporal and spatial distribution statistics of several emissions constituents. Finally, we show that 87 (85) percent of all flights in 2004 (2006) are short-haul missions, yet those flights are responsible for only 38 (39) percent of total emissions.

Citation: Wilkerson, J. T., Jacobson, M. Z., Malwitz, A., Balasubramanian, S., Wayson, R., Fleming, G., Naiman, A. D., and Lele, S. K.: Analysis of emission data from global commercial aviation: 2004 and 2006, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 10, 2945-2983, doi:10.5194/acpd-10-2945-2010, 2010.
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