Sci-tech

Mysterious rise in emissions of ozone-damaging chemical

Mysterious rise in emissions of ozone-damaging chemical

It's tough to narrow down a specific culprit, but the NOAA can make distinctions between emissions from the northern and southern hemispheres, and the sudden uptick in CFC-11 seems to be coming from the northern hemisphere.

Scientists have carefully monitored the progress and measured chemical compound of the planet's atmosphere.

And so successful has Montreal been that scientists have spoken of a recovery being under way. This was partly because nations had all agreed to ban or phase out CFCs, which are short for "chlorofluorocarbons" but are simply called "ozone-depleting substances", due to an global treaty back in the 1980s called the Montreal Protocol. So the team came to the conclusion that someone is newly producing the chemicals.

The regulations were initially reflected by the data, with the amounts detected in the atmosphere sinking at a constant rate between 2002 and 2012.

The hunt is now on to find and stop the mysterious source of the emissions, which scientists believe are emanating from somewhere inside of east Asia.

The authors of the new report discount the idea that this change could be due to releases from existing stores, emissions from older buildings being decommissioned, or from the accidental production of CFC-11 as a by-product of other chemical manufacture.

According to the report, published in Nature and led by Stephen Montzka of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the amount of CFC-11 had gradually been declining over time as countries stopped producing it and what remained in the atmosphere faded out, but its rate of decline sharply decreased over the past year.

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"We don't know why they might be doing that and if it is being made for some specific goal, or inadvertently as a side product of some other chemical process". The chemical can be a byproduct in other chemical manufacturing, but it is supposed to be captured and recycled.

There is a small chance that there is a more innocent explanation for the rise in CFC-11 emissions, the scientist say.

"I hope that somehow the worldwide community can put pressure on South East Asian countries, maybe China, to go and look at whether they can get more information on where the emissions come from".

A simple model analysis of our findings suggests an increase in CFC-11 emissions ... despite reported production being close to zero4 since 2006 ...

Zaelke said that the study surprised him not only because CFC-11 has been banned since long but also due to the reason that there are alternatives of the chemical available in the market.

However, if no action is taken on the new source of emissions, it could be highly significant. "They should tell the industries that's not going to work".

That said, if the prompt action isn't taken as soon as possible, these emissions can prove to be a major roadblock and delay the recovery of ozone.


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