Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Scientists Unveil High-Res Map of the U.S. Carbon Footprint

A team of scientists has completed a carbon dioxide emissions inventory of the United States plotted down to 100-square-kilometer chunks.

That means that the NASA- and Department of Energy-funded scientists can detail emissions across all 9 million square kilometers that compose the United States. For a full explanation, check out the video that Purdue's Kevin Gurney put together, which features a number of other excellent CO2 visualizations. Andy Revkin, the New York Times' environment-beat writer, put a memorable headline on a post about the video, calling it, "Breath of a Nation."

The work, known as The Vulcan Project, has already yielded a significant discovery: Previous CO2 estimates that used population as a proxy for emissions overestimated the Northeast's greenhouse-gas generation, while underestimating the coal-heavy Southeast's contribution.

Now, given the opposition of the Southeast's congressional delegations to climate-change action, I'd like to see the new emissions map matched up with House and Senate districts.

Image: Courtesy The Vulcan Project. The units are log(million metric tons/year/100 square km.), so sayeth our team of commenters. The data is drawn from 2002.

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