A number of organisations and individuals are using interactive maps and web casts to visualise the emissions of carbon dioxide to great effect. The ones presented here show the results from two US endeavours: Purdue University's Vulcan Project and NatCarb.org.
Vulcan is a NASA / US Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored program that modelled the emissions of carbon dioxide across the United States from fossil fuelled sources of power in the year 2002. The information was collated down to the level of individual factories, power generation plants, roads and neighbourhoods and allows users to view emissions by Google Earth fly-overs and against time by means of computer simulations that model the transfer of carbon dioxide from ground level into the atmosphere.
Purdue report on their Vulcan website that details of North American emissions are to be extended to include Canada and Mexico and will cover years back to 1980, as well as emissions of CO and NOx. Plans are also in hand for another project called Hestia to create a worldwide model of greenhouse emissions, though at this time of writing there is no information as to whether work on this program has commenced.
The National Carbon Explorer also uses the Google platform to provide an atlas with locations of carbon dioxide sources and potential sinks where the gas could be stored. The project is sponsored by the US DOE's National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) and links regionally managed databases with the aim of creating a national overview of the infrastructure required to sequestrate carbon dioxide.
The author of this blog cannot help feeling that the use of such interactive maps creates much greater understanding and may have a strong role to play in generating national buy-in to any carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiative. If this can be achieved, then inter-state trunklines and storage sites could become a reality in the US far earlier than in Europe (see an earlier post) where resistance to change and a shortage of land continent wide, will invariably slow down efforts to deploy a similar system.
The Locations of US Carbon Sources and Sinks
Source: NatCarb.org - Interactive maps of Carbon Sources and Sinks.
Note the number of emission sources from petroleum and natural gas related activities
in Canada. These are probably related to the production of crude from tar sands.
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