European Emissions of Halogenated Greenhouse Gases Inferred from Atmospheric Measurements

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 46, Issue 1, p.217 - 225 (2012)





European emissions of nine representative halocarbons (CFC-11, CFC-12, Halon 1211, HCFC-141b, HCFC-142b, HCFC-22, HFC-125, HFC-134a, HFC-152a) are derived for the year 2009 by combining long-term observations in Switzerland, Italy, and Ireland with campaign measurements from Hungary. For the first time, halocarbon emissions over Eastern Europe are assessed by top-down methods, and these results are compared to Western European emissions. The employed inversion method builds on least-squares optimization linking atmospheric observations with calculations from the Lagrangian particle dispersion model FLEXPART. The aggregated halocarbon emissions over the study area are estimated at 125 (106–150) Tg of CO2 equiv/y, of which the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) make up the most important fraction with 41% (31–52%). We find that chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions from banks are still significant and account for 35% (27–43%) of total halocarbon emissions in Europe. The regional differences in per capita emissions are only small for the HFCs, while emissions of CFCs and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) tend to be higher in Western Europe compared to Eastern Europe. In total, the inferred per capita emissions are similar to estimates for China, but 3.5 (2.3–4.5) times lower than for the United States. Our study demonstrates the large benefits of adding a strategically well placed measurement site to the existing European observation network of halocarbons, as it extends the coverage of the inversion domain toward Eastern Europe and helps to better constrain the emissions over Central Europe.