The world agreed to ban this ozone killer years ago—but it looks like someone is making more An unexpected and persistent increase in global emissions of ozone-depleting CFC-11 | Nature Emissions of an ozone-destroying chemical are rising again | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA Montreal Protocol - Ozone Secretariat - UN Environment The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer - US Department of State

The world agreed to ban this ozone killer years ago—but it looks like someone is making more

A new study shows a shocking spike in emissions for an ozone-depleting chemical banned more than 20 years ago. The culprit who is generating this pollutant is still unknown and at large.

Neel V. There are plenty of replacement compounds—I don’t know why someone needs CFC-11. David Nance 1 , 2 , Matt Rigby 5 , Alistair J. Ozone Secretariat. Tropospheric ozone trends at Mauna Loa Observatory tied to decadal climate variability. Stiller, G. Rienecker, M. A. et al. in Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2002 . D14302 (2008). Novelli for CO data from MLO. Search for Geoff S. Specific years are labelled for GC–MS results during 2013–2016 and for ECD results during 1997–2000 (for example, ’15 is 2015).

The research was led by U.S. researchers with NOAA, with help from scientists in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Scientists then embarked on an investigation, published in the journal Nature , to find out the cause. That leaves the bizarre possibility that someone is actively manufacturing and using CFC-11 again, Ferry said. Do you live in Canada? What's trending now More trending stories » Who is Meghan Markle's ex-husband Trevor Engelson, and why did they get divorced?

An unexpected and persistent increase in global emissions of ozone-depleting CFC-11 | Nature


Handbook for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer , 9th edn (United Nations Environment Programme, 2012). Google Scholar 11. P. et al. M. et al. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, 2003). Google Scholar 31. The CESM project is supported by the NSF and the Office of Science (BER) of the US Department of Energy. Search for Robert W. Only slopes for correlations that are significant at P  < 0.05 are shown (that is, those for which r 2  > ~0.25). d , The same as c , but for the data in b (CH 2 Cl 2 versus HCFC-22).

Their results were published in the journal Nature. The detective work began by assessing whether there had been changes in how the atmosphere distributes and destroys CFC-11 that could explain the changed measurements. And that CFC factory would be difficult to track down. Josh K. An image provided by NOAA shows the hole in the ozone layer in 2015. The finding seems likely to prompt an international investigation into the mysterious source.

Emissions of an ozone-destroying chemical are rising again | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA

MERRA: NASA’s modern-era retrospective analysis for research and applications. Jones, A. Rigby, M. et al. We acknowledge the NOAA Research and Development High Performance Computing Program for computing and storage resources. Search for John S. Eastern Asia has been a substantial source of HCFC-22 and CH 2 Cl 2 for a number of years 1 , 11 . National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. There is a small chance that there is a more innocent explanation for the rise in CFC-11 emissions, the scientists say.

Given a large enough sample, he said, chemists might be able to analyze the CFC for signatures that would point to its origin. The harmful chemical, dubbed trichlorofluoromethane ( CFC-11 ), has been banned for decades in an effort to save the ozone layer. The illicit emissions are believed to be coming from somewhere in eastern Asia, but nothing else is known about the offender. Officially, production of CFC-11 is supposed to be at or near zero - at least, that is what countries have been telling the United Nations body that monitors and enforces the Protocol.

The chemical, CFC-11, is part of a class of substances called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) once hailed as a pinnacle of 20th century industrial chemistry. In fact, the chemical spike may simply be the result of poor storage of old insulation of appliances somewhere which are now emitting CFC-11 into the air. Here we show that the rate of decline of atmospheric CFC-11 concentrations observed at remote measurement sites was constant from 2002 to 2012, and then slowed by about 50 per cent after 2012.

Montreal Protocol - Ozone Secretariat - UN Environment

This work was funded in part by the NOAA Climate Program Office’s AC4 program. Search for Brad D. As a result, significant correlated variability is expected in their mixing ratios downwind of this region; this is borne out in observations at MLO during autumn from 2009 to 2017. NOAA Home Science. But they concluded these sources could not explain the increase, which they calculated at about 13 billion grams per year in recent years.

That said, the analytical chemistry behind this is fantastic, and the people who've worked on this for decades — I have a lot of faith in these guys. However, a new study led by the U.S. In the study , published in Nature on Wednesday, the scientists say the atmospheric level of trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is still dropping overall. The research was led by researchers with the U.S.

CFCs showed up in refrigerators, aerosol cans, and solvents of all kind. Nevertheless, the evidence points strongly to someone creating new CFC-11 emissions. Additional information Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Task Force Decision XX/8 Report (United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, 2009).

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer - US Department of State

These adjustments are then automatically applicable to all countries that ratified the Protocol. Environment Program’s] Ozone Secretariat, which is inconsistent with the agreed phase-out of CFC production in the Montreal Protocol by 2010,” the researchers wrote. Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Why would someone set up a factory to do just this​ when we know​ the consequences for that are negative?

So in the late 1980s, the world agreed to phase out the use of the chemicals, including CFC-11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with help from scientists in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Its research team ruled out CFC-11 being released from destruction of old buildings with the old style insultaion because the data didn’t fit. Then scientists started realizing that CFCs were widening a gaping hole in the Earth’s ozone layer, an essential shield for life on this planet against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

References 1. Daniel, J. et al. in Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010 . Google Scholar 12. A., Coy, L., Pawson, S. & Lait, L. C. & Homeyer, C. Springer, New York, 2007). Hamilton, K. & Fan, S.-M. Reviewer information Nature thanks J. Search for Alistair J. For example, inventory- and atmosphere-based studies suggest emissions of HCFC-22 from China of around 100 Gg in 2010, increasing to 150 Gg in 2015 (ref.

Someone, somewhere, is making a banned chemical that destroys the ozone layer, scientists suspect

It's an ozone mystery, as well as a threat to one of the planet's great environmental success stories.

Countries were supposed to phase out CFC-11 by 2010, but scientists have spotted the release of far more than governments are reporting. However, some of that radiation started slipping through late last century, when greenhouse gases created a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Some CFC-11 still exists in insulation and older appliances, according to the researchers. Their results were published in the journal Nature.

CFCs’ chlorine molecules initiate ozone-destroying chemical reactions and allow UV radiation through to the surface. If a country cannot or refuses to return to compliance, harsh trade sanctions are the next step. Carpenter, L. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, 2011). Rosenlof, K. R. The anomalous change in the QBO in 2015–2016. R. Global large-scale stratosphere-troposphere exchange in modern reanalyses.

Effects of the stratospheric quasi-biennial oscillation on long-lived greenhouse gases in the troposphere. Laube and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Search for Ben R. Considering the slopes measured at MLO between HCFC-22 and CH 2 Cl 2 , this would correspond to regional emissions of CH 2 Cl 2 of 300 Gg in 2010 increasing to 440 Gg in 2016. Unlike adjustments to the Protocol , amendments must be ratified by countries before their requirements are applicable to those countries.

As The Washington Post explained in its detailed report on the study, global CFC production has been near zero since the materials were banned in the 1987 Montreal Protocol. If rogue production continues, it might just hold back the fragile recovery of Earth's vital ozone shield, despite  years of success . The hole in the ozone layer forms each September over Antarctica, and while it has been shrinking, last year it was still approximately 20 million square kilometres across.

Mysterious rise in banned ozone-destroying chemical shocks scientists

CFCs have been outlawed for years but researchers have detected new production somewhere in east Asia

There is a small chance that there is a more innocent explanation for the rise in CFC-11 emissions, the scientist say. The chemical in question is CFC-11, which was once used in refrigeration and degreasers until it became one of several chlorofluorocarbons banned by the Montreal Protocol in 1987. The world came together in 1987 to sign the Montreal Protocol, a pact that effectively banned all ozone-depleting substances, including CFCs.

J. et al. in Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2014 . Harris, N. R. & Reid, G. Google Scholar 17. Google Scholar 22. D., Dutton, G. Google Scholar 33. Author information Affiliations Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO, USA Stephen A. Search for James W. This is comparable to the 455 Gg ( ± 10%) estimated to have been used in China for emissive applications in 2015 (ref.

That loss of ozone, in turn, weakens our protection from ultraviolet radiation at Earth’s surface. Overall, atmospheric CFCs are still declining, and the ozone layer is still replenishing itself . This produces chlorine, which destroys ozone molecules. That’s down from its average size of 26 million square kilometres. But the rate of reduction is slowing, which doesn't fit with expectations.

There's No Good Explanation for Why Ozone-Ripping CFCs Are Back

Scientists can't explain why in the world someone would decide to pump out the dangerous gases again.

If the Montreal Protocol fails, the world will fail. Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project—Report No. R. P. in et al. C. Trends in the temperature and water vapor content of the tropical lower stratosphere: Sea surface connection. Chirkov, M. et al. Ashford, P. et al. in Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System: Issues Related to Hydrofluorocarbons and Perfluorocarbons (eds Metz, B. et al.) Ch.

Simmonds, P. Montzka , Geoff S. Montzka . Correlations between additional trace gases measured during autumn at Mauna Loa. This search only finds exact matches for the keywords. The chemical is also a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. But the new source has slowed that process significantly, and scientists find the situation completely baffling, said John L. The ozone layer shields life on Earth from damaging UV, which can cause eye damage and skin cancer in humans.

The scientists analyzed measurements from 12 different sites and concluded that CFC-11 emissions started to increase after 2012, two years after production of the chemical was reportedly at zero. CFC-11, used primarily for foams, can lasts up to 50 years in the atmosphere once it's released. The hole in the ozone has since diminished. CFC-11 was especially used in foam building insulations and appliances made before the 1990s.

CFC-11: Someone's Producing This Banned Ozone-Eating Chemical—but No-one Knows Who

If production continues, it could undermine our ozone layer's fragile recovery.

D06107 (2008). Global HCFC-22 measurements with MIPAS: retrieval, validation, global distribution and its evolution over 2005–2012. Cambridge Univ. W. The NOAA nitrous oxide standard scale for atmospheric observations. Interannual fluctuations in the seasonal cycle of nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons due to the Brewer-Dobson circulation. Dutton , Brad D. Extended data figures and tables Extended Data Fig.

The Montreal Protocol, finalized in 1987, is a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Keith Weller, a spokesman for the U.N. CFCs are molecules made up of carbon atoms linked to chlorine and fluorine atoms, halogen elements that render the molecule volatile but particularly nonreactive, Ferry told Live Science.

The unreported source of CFC-11 appears to be somewhere in east Asia, according to Montzka and his co-authors from the U.S., the U.K. and the Netherlands. Their data indicate the source is north of the equator and probably in eastern Asia. It is only destroyed in the stratosphere, some 9 to 18 miles above the planet's surface, where the resulting chlorine molecules engage in a string of ozone-destroying chemical reactions.

Levels of ozone-destroying CFCs are mysteriously rising

Atmospheric levels of globally-banned CFC chemicals are on the rise, while the source remains unknown. If production of the harmful chemicals is not shut down, it could damage the ozone layer.

D09305 (2007). Google Scholar 34. Hall , Debra Mondeel , Carolina Siso , J. Results from low latitudes (green lines) include a site at high-altitude (MLO) and low-altitude (KUM) in the Northern Hemisphere compared to the site at American Samoa (SMO). Additional model simulations of the changes in CFC-11 mole fraction over time and of hemispheric differences. The United States ratified the Montreal Protocol in 1988 and has joined four subsequent amendments.

The original refrigerants ... were ammonia or butane," Ferry said. "One of them is very, very toxic — ammonia — so we needed a replacement that was nontoxic. NOAA staff at the South Pole get ready to release an ozone-measuring instrument on a balloon. Those efforts have led to an overall 15 per cent decline in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the air since 1994, the study says.

That loss of ozone, in turn, weakens our protection from UV radiation at the Earth's surface. Why Do Japanese People Love Cuteness? It has three chlorine molecules instead of the usual two, conferring it with a longer lifespan—around 52 years—than most other ozone-depleting chemicals. Copyright © 2018 Popular Science. A. et al. A. et al. in Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010 . Randel, W.

Someone is leaking a banned, ozone-killing chemical into the air

A mystery polluter is producing a banned chemical that destroys the ozone layer, although scientists aren't sure where it's coming from or who is responsible.

Results from mid- to high-latitude site pairs are indicated in other colours and include data from high-altitude (NWR, SUM, SPO) and low-altitude (THD, MHD, BRW) sites. In all panels, results from observations and the CAM run using the Emission1 distribution and MERRA2 reanalysis meteorology are shown for reference (solid light blue and green lines). The Montreal Protocol has proven to be innovative and successful, and is the first treaty to achieve universal ratification by all countries in the world.

CFCs were special because they were neither flammable nor reactive enough to be toxic. NOAA CFC-11 emissions, the researchers found, have risen by a quarter over the last six years. Nevertheless, CFC-11 remains the second-most plentiful ozone-killing gas in the atmosphere, where it lingers for about 50 years. Either way, it's bad news for the ozone layer. The chemical is also a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Like other CFCs, concentrations of CFC-11 in the atmosphere have dramatically decreased since the treaty went into effect in 1989, abating by as much as 15 percent since hitting peak levels in 1993. A Bonnier Corporation Company. Decline in the tropospheric abundance of halogen from halocarbons: Implications for stratospheric ozone depletion. Chapter 1, 1.1–1.108 (World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, 2011).

R. et al. Considerable contribution of the Montreal Protocol to declining greenhouse gas emissions from the United States. McCulloch, A., Ashford, P. & Midgley, P. D. et al. Miller  & James W. Extended Data Fig. All quantities being compared are derived from hemispheric means determined from cosine of latitude weighting of observed or simulated mole fractions at sampling locations (Methods).

Emissions of a Banned Ozone-Eating Chemical Are Rising Again and Scientists Don't Know Why

Breaking news and analysis from Politics, world news, photos, video, tech reviews, health, science and entertainment news.

Chris Mooney covers climate change, energy, and the environment. They were enormously popular, until it turned out that high in the atmosphere they were breaking down. Rogue production, the scientists wrote, seemed to be the best explanation. Nature also scrubs about two per cent of the CFC-11 concentration from the atmosphere every year, but the decline is slow, experts say. CFC-11 is the second-most abundant ozone-depleting substance in the atmosphere, and reducing levels is essential for the ozone layer to recover.

Steroids: Wonder Drug? NOAA scientists have made regular measurements of the air since the late ‘70s, as mandated by the Clean Air Act . All rights reserved. Science 272 , 1318–1322 (1996). Liang, Q. et al. E. & Forster, P. Climate change from 1850 to 2005 simulated in CESM1(WACCM). Laube, J. M. Historic emissions of fluorotrichloromethane (CFC-11) based on a market survey. Exploring causes of interannual variability in the seasonal cycles of tropospheric nitrous oxide.

Emission distribution 1 was used in all simulations (see  Methods ). The sensitivity of derived bank release rates to CFC-11 lifetime and incineration. On October 15, 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali amendment to phase down production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide. Follow @chriscmooney The story must be told. Replacing CFCs was a challenge, Ferry said.

An unknown country has started producing CFCs again damaging the ozone layer

It appears that a country somewhere in East Asia has breached rules banning the use of CFCs which caused a hole to emerge in Earth's ozone layer. The rate at...

Concentrations of other banned greenhouse gases have continued to decline without interruption, according to the NOAA data. The next step for atmospheric researchers is to try to narrow down the source of the emissions, with help from scientists across eastern Asia, Montzka says. This insults everybody who's worked on this for the last 30 years. SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc.

Stephen A. Google Scholar 3. Constraining the carbon tetrachloride (CCl 4 ) budget using its global trend and inter-hemispheric gradient. Decreases in stratospheric water vapor after 2001: Links to changes in the tropical tropopause and the Brewer-Dobson circulation. J. Clim. C. et al. Google Scholar 30. We thank the US National Science Foundation for logistics support at Summit (Greenland) and the South Pole; J.

This may explain the peak in growth rates for a number of gases in 2015. Including quantities of CFC-11 destroyed (for example, by incineration) reported to UNEP (grey circles) affect this result minimally. This amendment creates market certainty and opens international markets to new technology that is better for the environment, without compromising performance. Your subscription supports journalism that matters.

Banned Ozone-Depleting Chemical Is Still Being Produced Somewhere, Scientists Say

Trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, hurts the ozone layer and was phased out of production by 2010. Supposedly. But a NOAA study says CFC-11 emissions began to rise after 2012.

Big Think Edge helps organizations by catalyzing conversation around the topics most critical to 21st century business success. New emissions are slowing that decline down. Montzka 1 , Geoff S. Prinn, R. Google Scholar 10. D12312 (2006). Google Scholar 19. Newly detected ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere. Liang, Q., Stolarski, R. Butler, D. David Nance , Lei Hu , Fred Moore  & Ben R.

Comments By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines . The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. Unless the culprit is found and stopped, the recovery of the ozone layer , which protects life on Earth from damaging UV radiation, could be delayed by a decade. Neither of the two primary CFC-11 use-cases, firefighting and refrigerators, are at all hampered today by not having the substance, Ferry said.

Want to discuss? The Montreal Protocol has been a remarkably effective agreement . But the apparent increase in emissions of CFC-11 has slowed the rate of decrease by about 22 percent, the scientists found. Many experts, encouraged by how well the world rallied against CFCs, have believed we could go back to 1980 ozone levels between 2050 and 2070 . Dutton 1 , 2 , Pengfei Yu 2 , 3 , Eric Ray 2 , 3 , Robert W.

Someone, somewhere, is making a banned chemical that destroys the ozone layer, scientists suspect

Lin, M., Horowitz, L. Google Scholar 14. Lamarque, J.-F. et al. Google Scholar 25. S., Douglass, A. Fahey, S. Miller Chemical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO, USA Pengfei Yu , Eric Ray , Robert W. If this timescale did not vary interannually, we would expect the observation-based points (blue) to overlay those from the model (red).

State Department. CFC chemicals were used in making foams for furniture and buildings, in aerosols and as refrigerants. That's a hard question," Ferry said. "The trite answer is short-term gain. Find out more. Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. But David Victor, a professor of international relations at the University of California, San Diego, says there is no easy way for the international community to crack down on violations.

'Someone in East Asia' has been blasting CFCs at the Earth's ozone layer again

R., Newman, P. Reimann, P. Portmann  & John S. A change in the annual mean value of this exchange would increase the difference between the observed and modelled N−S difference. May 16, 2018 Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, were once considered a triumph of modern chemistry. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

So, you imagine: What kind of situation would you be in? Globally banned by the Montreal protocol in 1987 for their ozone-destroying properties, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) chemicals are experiencing a comeback. Corus News. If a country is willfully violating the protocol, "there's an enforcement mechanism, but it doesn't really have any teeth," Victor tells NPR. "You can file reports, threaten trade sanctions. ...

Based on an analysis of CFC-11’s interactions with other gases, the researchers believe the source is in eastern Asia—but that’s as narrow as the search beacon cna go. Daniel 3 , Lambert Kuijpers 4 , Brad D. J. Geophys. J., Fiore, A. Variability of stratospheric mean age of air and of the local effects of residual circulation and eddy mixing. Model Dev. The increasing threat to stratospheric ozone from dichloromethane.

Scientists shocked by massive emissions of a banned, ozone-destroying chemical

CFC-11 was banned worldwide in 1987 by the Montreal Protocol, but scientists have found increasing levels of the ozone-depleting chemical in the atmosphere since 2013.

The Montreal Protocol , signed later that year, committed the global community to phasing out their use. Javascript is disabled in your browser. Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, said: “If these emissions continue unabated, they have the potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer. The most likely candidate for such stockpiles would be natural ice formations. In recent years, levels of CFCs have increased suddenly and mysteriously.

Another likely scenario is that a government wants to enforce the ban but lacks the enforcement capacity to crack down on illegal production. Am I the only one plagued by comedic bad luck? But it’s baffling that a country would knowingly violate the treaty. “The reason the ozone layer is getting better,” says Strahan, “is because the world is complying with the ban on CFC production. Hall 1 , Debra Mondeel 1 , 2 , Carolina Siso 1 , 2 , J.

M. & Fan, S. Google Scholar 15. Google Scholar 20. Google Scholar 26. E. Evaluation of emissions and transport of CFCs using surface observations and their seasonal cycles and the GEOS CCM simulation with emissions-based forcing. Davis for MERRA2 reanalysis winds; and P. Manning Authors Search for Stephen A. For each method (colour), unfilled symbols refer to results for the years 2010–2012; filled symbols refer to 2013–2016.

The finding seems likely to prompt an international investigation into the mysterious source. CFCs used in buildings and appliances before the ban came into force still leak into the air today. The world's ice is melting, and Ferry said that melting ice can release trapped chemicals into the air. The second most damaging CFC chemical , CFC-11, has most notably been on the rise. More Homeless woman died with almost £1,000,000 in the bank Ad feature The wait is finally over – but what is Detroit: Become Human really like to play?