Quantifying the Imprints of Stratospheric Contributions to Interhemispheric Differences in Tropospheric CFC-11, CFC-12, and N2O Abundances

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 48, Issue 15, p.e2021GL093700 (2021)






Abstract For trace gases destroyed in the stratosphere, mass flux across the tropopause can substantially influence observed surface hemispheric differences (NH-SH). Here, we quantify associations between observed stratospheric and tropospheric NH-SH growth rate anomalies of CFC-11, CFC-12, and N2O. We employ a chemistry climate model along with satellite and global surface station observations. Our model explains 60% of observed N2O NH-SH growth rate variability from 2005 to 2019, compared to 30% for CFC-11% and 40% for CFC-12, supporting evidence that unexpected anthropogenic emissions caused sustained positive NH-SH anomalies in these CFCs from 2012 to 2017. Between 2012 and 2015, the observed CFC-11 NH-SH difference grew by 1.7 ppt; our model explains 0.5 ± 0.1 ppt of this growth, but not the duration. Our model suggests that in the absence of further emission anomalies, new NH-SH positive tracer anomalies should have occurred in 2020, and predicts small negative anomalies in 2021.