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Count of new CFCs in the atmosphere rises from four to seven

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
Two new chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and one new hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) have been found in the atmosphere by a group of scientists. Scientists made the discovery by comparing today's air samples with air collected between 1978 and 2012 in unpolluted Tasmania, and samples taken during aircraft flights. Measurements show that all but one of the new gases have been released into the atmosphere in recent years.

Dr. Johannes Laube from the University of East Anglia has found two new chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and one new hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) in the atmosphere. The research comes after another four man-made gases were discovered by the same team in March.
Credit: David Powell, UEA

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have found two new chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and one new hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) in the atmosphere.

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The research, published in the journal Atmosphere, comes after another four human-made gases were discovered by the same team in March.

Scientists made the discovery by comparing today's air samples with air collected between 1978 and 2012 in unpolluted Tasmania, and samples taken during aircraft flights.

Measurements show that all but one of the new gases have been released into the atmosphere in recent years.

Dr Johannes Laube, from UEA's school of Environmental Sciences, said: "Two of the gases that we found earlier in the year were particularly worrying because they were still accumulating significantly up until 2012. Emission increases of this scale have not been seen for any other CFCs since controls were introduced during the 1990s, but they are nowhere near peak CFC emissions of the 1980s.

"We have now identified another two CFCs and one HCFC, although these have much lower concentrations than the previous ones. It is therefore unlikely that they will pose a threat to the ozone layer. They do however strengthen our argument that there are many more gases out there and the sum of them may well have an impact."

Corinna Kloss, who undertook the research while at UEA, now at the Jόlich Research Centre in Germany, said: "All seven gases were only around in the atmosphere in very small amounts before the 1980s, with four not present at all before the 1960s, which suggests they are human-made. Where these new gases are coming from should be investigated. Possible sources include industrial solvents, feedstock chemicals and refrigerants."

CFCs are the main cause of the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Laws to reduce and phase out CFCs came into force in 1989, followed by a total ban in 2010. This has resulted in successfully reducing the production of many of these compounds on a global scale.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Corinna Kloss, Mike Newland, David Oram, Paul Fraser, Carl Brenninkmeijer, Thomas Rφckmann, Johannes Laube. Atmospheric Abundances, Trends and Emissions of CFC-216ba, CFC-216ca and HCFC-225ca. Atmosphere, 2014; 5 (2): 420 DOI: 10.3390/atmos5020420

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Count of new CFCs in the atmosphere rises from four to seven." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603193902.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2014, June 3). Count of new CFCs in the atmosphere rises from four to seven. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603193902.htm
University of East Anglia. "Count of new CFCs in the atmosphere rises from four to seven." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603193902.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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