Paris, 13 October 2011

Emissions of atmospheric compounds : new scenarios for the IPCC

Emissions of the main greenhouse gases, reactive gaseous and particulate chemical compounds have been inventoried over the period 1850-2300 by an international collaboration involving scientists from the Laboratoire "Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales" (CNRS/UPMC/UVSQ)(1) and the Laboratoire d'Aérologie (CNRS/Université Paul Sabatier)(2). This quantification has enabled researchers to propose four new scenarios that will be used in future climatic simulations of the 5th IPCC report, due in 2013. This work, which is published in a special edition of the journal Climatic Change, was supported by CNRS, CNES and ADEME.

The scientists firstly refined estimations of the main greenhouse gas emissions, reactive chemical compounds such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, and particles from the Earth's atmosphere over the period 1850-2300. Coordinated by Claire Granier and Catherine Liousse, both CNRS researchers, the French teams took a particular interest in emissions generated by human activity and the combustion of biomass. 

On the basis of these inventories, the scientists then established new scenarios(3) describing a wide spectrum of possible futures for the main factors of climate change: greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants and land use. These scenarios will be integrated in climatic simulations of the future by most climate modelers. Such developments will be used to draft the next IPCC report, due to be published in 2013, and will also make it possible to explore the costs and benefits of the decisions taken today in terms of climate policies.

With support from CNRS, CNES and ADEME, the two French teams have designed a database known as ECCAD(4), which is available to the whole scientific community and can be consulted at

Anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides in July 2008

© ECCAD database

Anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides in July 2008

Anthropogenic emissions of black carbon (soot) in July 2008

© ECCAD database

Anthropogenic emissions of black carbon (soot) in July 2008


1 - This laboratory is part of the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, which encompasses six CNRS joint research units.
2 - Part of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, which encompasses seven CNRS joint research units.
3 - Known as Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)
4 - Emissions of Atmospheric Compounds & Compilation of Ancillary Data


In a special issue, the journal Climatic Change is publishing a series of ten articles that each describe scenarios, their use and their evaluation.
10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z: van Vuuren et al., Overview
10.1007/s10584-011-0149-y: Riahi et al., RCP 8.5
10.1007/s10584-011-0150-5: Masui et al., RCP 6
10.1007/s10584-011-0151-4: Thomson et al., RCP4.5
10.1007/s10584-011-0152-3: van Vuuren et al., RCP 2.6
10.1007/s10584-011-0153-2: Hurtt et al., Land-use scenarios
10.1007/s10584-011-0154-1: Granier et al., Evaluation
10.1007/s10584-011-0155-0: Lamarque et al., Simulations
10.1007/s10584-011-0156-z: Meinhausen et al., Extension to 2300
10.1007/s10584-011-0157-y: van Vuuren et al., Summary


CNRS researchers
Claire Granier l T 06 88 66 91 73
Catherine Liousse l T 05 61 33 27 66

CNRS press officer
Priscilla Dacher l T 01 44 96 46 06


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