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Global anthropogenic heat emissions from energy consumption, 1965–2100

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Anthropogenic heat emission (AHE) is an important contributor to regional climate change, and may affect air quality in many ways. To gain a complete picture of global AHEs and lay a basis for modeling, in this study, global and regional AHEs from energy consumption are estimated for the past nearly five decades, and projected for the future through the year 2100. From 1965 to 2013, global AHE increased from 148 to 485 EJ/year, and the anthropogenic heat flux (AHF) over land increased from 0.03 to 0.10 W/m2. Meanwhile, AHE per capita increased from 44.6 to 68.1 GJ. Regional differences are remarkable. In 2013, AHFs in Asia Pacific (AP), the Middle East (ME), North America (NA), Europe and Eurasia (EE), South and Central America (SCA), and Africa (AF) were 0.23, 0.22, 0.09, 0.08, 0.04, and 0.02 W/m2, respectively. During the past 50 years, AHFs in ME, AP, AF, and SCA have increased by factors of 15.3, 10.8, 5.6, and 4.0. However, growth in NA and EE has been relatively slow. In the high, moderate, and low scenarios, by 2100, the terrestrial AHFs are projected to be 0.28, 0.24, and 0.19 W/m2, respectively. The largest increase would occur in Asia and ME. Although the mean AHF is small compared to the forcing of GHGs, it may exert quite distinctive effects on the climate and the environment because of the surface-based emissions and uneven geographical distribution.

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This work was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2014CB441203), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0208504), and the National Nature Science Foundation of China (41175129).

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Correspondence to Qin’geng Wang.

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Lu, Y., Wang, H., Wang, Q. et al. Global anthropogenic heat emissions from energy consumption, 1965–2100. Climatic Change 145, 459–468 (2017).

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