Global Civil Aviation Emissions Estimates for 2017–2020 Using ADS-B Data

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Aviation is a growing source of atmospheric emissions impacting the Earth’s climate and air quality. Comprehensive assessments of the environmental impact of this industry require up-to-date, spatially resolved, and speciated emissions inventories. We develop and evaluate the first such estimate of global emissions from aircraft operations for the years 2017–2020. Aircraft activity data, based on flights registered by networks of aircraft Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) telemetry receivers, are used together with the Base of Aircraft Data (BADA) 3.15 aircraft performance model and the International Civil Aviation Organization Engine Emissions Databank to estimate spatially resolved fuel burn and emissions of CO2, H2O, NOx (NO+NO2), SOx (SO2+SO2−4), CO, unburnt hydrocarbons (HC), and nonvolatile particulate matter (nvPM). We calculate that 937 Tg of CO2 and 4.62 Tg of NOx were emitted by aircraft in 2019, and quantify the evolution of the fleet average emission indices over time. Owing to impacts from COVID-19, we estimate a 48% lower fuel burn, resulting in 463 Tg less CO2 and 2.29 Tg less NOx emitted in 2020 than what would be otherwise expected. We conclude that ADS-B is a viable source of data to generate global emissions estimates in a timely and transparent manner for monitoring and assessing aviation’s atmospheric impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1394-1405
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Aircraft: devoted to aeronautical science and technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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