Banned Ozone-Destroying Gas Back on the Rise, Warn Scientists

18 May, 2018, 10:00 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Launching a balloon that carries atmospheric measuring devices over Antarctica.
       Courtesy NOAA

The study, which was published in Nature on Wednesday, suggests that new production of the chemical is being carried out by an identified source in East Asia.

However, according to Durwood Zaelke, an expert on the Montreal Protocol, the massive quantities of CFC-11 indicates that someone is acting in defiance of the ban.

When, in 1987, in Antarctica a hole in the ozone layer, all countries of the world in 1987 agreed to phase out several types of ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The CFC-11 was used previously as a solvent, refrigerant, and as a propellant for Styrofoam production and for aerosol spray cans. It's the first time ranges of one of many three most plentiful, long-lived CFCs has elevated for a sustained interval because the late 1980s. Still found in some old freezers, it was supposed to be completely out of production by 2010.

It's unclear who's responsible for the increase of the chemical into the atmosphere, where it can last 50 years.

All Montzka would say about that is "further work is needed to figure out exactly why emissions of CFC-11 are increasing, and if something can be done about it soon".

Despite having been banned, emissions of a chemical found to create holes in the ozone layer have skyrocketed in recent years, according to a new study-leading scientists to wonder whether the pollutant is being secretly manufactured somewhere on Earth. Afterward, however, the decline actually started to slow down: between 2015 and 2017, CFC-11 levels in the atmosphere dropped by only 1.0 ppt per year. As they do, we should see the decline of CFC-11 levels in the atmosphere accelerate.

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A simple model analysis of our findings suggests an increase in CFC-11 emissions ... despite reported production being close to zero4 since 2006 ... Production levels have been reported to be at zero by countries that are responsible to enforce the worldwide ban, notes the report.

Because CFC-11 still accounts for one-quarter of all chlorine present in today's stratosphere, expectations for the ozone hole to heal by mid-century depend on an accelerating decline of CFC-11 in the atmosphere as its emissions diminish- which should happen with no new CFC-11 production.

"We're raising the flag to say, look, this is not what we hope happens for the ozone layer", said Dr. Montzka, a research chemist at the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The staff mentioned the emissions have been nearly definitely as a result of new, unreported manufacturing from an unidentified supply in East Asia.

Montzka is calling for prompt action, as the damage will be minor only if the culprit is detected and shut down soon. If not remedied soon, however, substantial delays in ozone layer recovery could be expected, Montzka said.

Despite the resistance to fighting climate change that we still have to deal with, some aspects of our planet are improving due to global efforts to reduce our impact - namely, the ozone layer is finally reforming.

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