Highlighting Uncertainty and Recommendations for Improvement of Black Carbon Biomass Fuel-Based Emission Inventories in the Indo-Gangetic Plain Region

Sutyajeet I. Soneja, James M. Tielsch, Subarna K. Khatry, Frank C Curriero, Patrick N Breysse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Black carbon (BC) is a major contributor to hydrological cycle change and glacial retreat within the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) and surrounding region. However, significant variability exists for estimates of BC regional concentration. Existing inventories within the IGP suffer from limited representation of rural sources, reliance on idealized point source estimates (e.g., utilization of emission factors or fuel-use estimates for cooking along with demographic information), and difficulty in distinguishing sources. Inventory development utilizes two approaches, termed top down and bottom up, which rely on various sources including transport models, emission factors, and remote sensing applications. Large discrepancies exist for BC source attribution throughout the IGP depending on the approach utilized. Cooking with biomass fuels, a major contributor to BC production has great source apportionment variability. Areas requiring attention tied to research of cookstove and biomass fuel use that have been recognized to improve emission inventory estimates include emission factors, particulate matter speciation, and better quantification of regional/economic sectors. However, limited attention has been given towards understanding ambient small-scale spatial variation of BC between cooking and non-cooking periods in low-resource environments. Understanding the indoor to outdoor relationship of BC emissions due to cooking at a local level is a top priority to improve emission inventories as many health and climate applications rely upon utilization of accurate emission inventories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent environmental health reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016



  • Biomass fuel
  • Black carbon
  • Cookstove
  • Emissions
  • Indo-Gangetic Plain
  • Inventories
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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