Format of emission files

If you are creating new emissions files, please copy the format of existing emissions files to be sure they are used properly by the model.  Some key features:

  • Emissions files require the 'date' variable, with 'time' dimension (and 'datesec' if you have sub-daily emissions); the model does not use the 'time' variable, but you can include it.
  • All 3D (time,lat,lon) variables in the file will be read.  If you have a 'total' or 'sum' in addition to individual sectors, all variables will be read and you will have twice the emissions you expected!
  • In 'vertical' emissions, you may include whatever vertical structure you want (1 km, 0.25 km, regular or irregular grid), but both 'altitude' and 'altitude_int' variables must be included.
  • The MAM (modal aerosol model) number emissions in the emissions files are in the units of '(particles/cm2/s)(molecules/mole)(g/kg)'.  This is because when emissions are read in CAM they are scaled by Avogadro's number and (1kg/1000g), which is needed for most emissions that are read as (molecules/cm2/s).  More information available at: Aerosols section of this wiki.

Combined emission files

Preprepared emission files with all or some of the required source sectors.

Inventory name and referenceSource sectors availableCoverageBase resolutionCAM-chem resolutionVersionDates available, temporal resolution


Janssens-Maenhout et al., 2015

1. Anthro, Ocean, BB

2. Anthro, Ocean

global0.1o x 0.1o

0.5o x 0.5o

0.9o x 1.25o

1.9o x 2.5o

v2.22008, 2010

Separated emission files

This table lists emissions inventories for anthropogenic and biogenic inventories. Starting with CAM5, multiple emissions files for each species can be read (specified in the namelist). Care must be taken not to forget or double-up on any sources when modifying the emissions list in user_nl_cam.


Inventory name and referenceCoverageBase resolutionCAM-chem resolutionVersionDates available, temporal resolutionlocation of files on Cheyenne

Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6): developed with the Community Emissions Data System (CEDS)

Hoesly et al., GMD, 2018

global0.5o x 0.5o

0.9ox1.25o (f09)

v2017-05-181750-2014, monthly/glade/p/cesmdata/cseg/inputdata/atm/cam/chem/emis/
SSPsglobal0.5o x 0.5o 0.9ox1.25o (f09)
2015-2100, monthly for each decade/glade/p/cesmdata/cseg/inputdata/atm/cam/chem/emis/

DICE Africa

Marais and Wiedinmyer et al. (2016)

Continental0.1o x 0.1o0.9o x 1.25o
2006 and 2013, annual average


Soulié et al. 2023


0.1o x 0.1o

0.9ox1.25o (f09)





2008-2020, monthly

2000-2020, monthly

2000-2021, monthly



merged with CONFORM v2 daily lockdown adjustments for 2020.

global0.1o x 0.1o0.9ox1.25o (f09)5.1

monthly: 2000-2020

daily: 2020 with lockdown.


Spreadsheet with more comprehensive information and availability instructions.

Biomass Burning

Inventory name and referenceCoverageBase resolutionCAM-chem resolutionVersionDates available, temporal resolutionlocation of files on the NCAR HPC filesystem (glade)

Fire INventory from NCAR (FINN) v1.5 (obsolete)

Wiedinmyer et al. (2011), GMD

globalBased off of MODIS resolution: 1km

0.9o x 1.25o (f09)



2002-2019, daily



Wiedinmyer et al., GMD, 2023

global1 km

0.9o x 1.25o (f09)




./ne0CONUSne30x8/ (only a few years) 


global0.1o x 0.1o


(for regridding to other resolutions)

Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) - merge of satellite datasets (GFED4s) with proxies

van Marle et al. (2017), GMD

globalGFED: 0.5o x 0.5o Data access: x 1.25o1.21750-2015, monthly/glade/p/cesm/chwg_dev/emmons/CMIP6_emissions_1750_2015_FINAL/

Quick Fire Emissions Dataset (QFED)

global0.25o x 0.25o

0.9o x 1.25o

2.52014-2019, daily*only CO available for CAM-chem

Composite QFEDv2.5/FINN1

global0.25o x 0.25o

0.9o x 1.25o

0.1o x 0.1o




Mar. 2000- Jan 2023, daily



→ sub-folders have different resolutions available

Composite QFEDv2.6/FINN1

  • note: 19 days in 2001 were missing files (due to MODIS availability) so started long record in 2002.
global0.25o x 0.25o

0.9o x 1.25o


Jan 1, 2002- Dec 31, 2023, daily


Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS)

Contains modified Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service Information 2018

Kaiser et al. (2012) BGS

Di Giuseppe et al. (2018), ACP

global0.1o x 0.1o0.9o x 1.25o1.22014-2017, daily*only CO available for CAM-chem

Global Fire Emission Dataset (GFED)

van der Werf et al (2017), ESSD

global0.25o x 0.25o0.9o x 1.25o4s

2016-2020, daily

2010-2020, monthly


1Composite inventories were created by multiplying CO2 from the base inventory (QFED) by the FINN emission ratios.

Spreadsheet with more comprehensive information and availability instructions.

FINN Emissions

FINNv2.5 emissions are available as text files with emissions for each fire, and as gridded 0.1x0.1 degree files from the NCAR Research Data Archive (RDA). See the FINN webpage for more information.

To grid the text emissions files, use the 'fire_emis' gridding program available from:

You can use this program on casper, with a script such as /glade/u/home/emmons/EMISSIONS/FINN/script_run_grid_f09.pbs

Related Information

Emission section of the User's Guide.

Change the CAM-chem default input emission files: see how to implement namelist changes.

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