A new compound was discovered in the atmosphere, octafluorooxolane (c-C4F8O). It was detected in ambient and archived air samples by analysis using AGAGE-type Medusa-GCMS measurements. Based on these measurements and using a 12-box model, emissions of this gas to the atmosphere are calculated. Also, laboratory studies were carried out, from which it was determined, that c-C4F8O is a very powerful greenhouse gas (GWP-100 is 12’000) thereby contributing to global warming, and that it has a very long atmospheric lifetime of more than 3500 years. Based on our measurements we could reconstruct the atmospheric evolution of this compound over more than 4 decades. The abundances have increased since the 1980s and have reached about 75 ppq (parts-per-quadrilion, femtomole per mole, in dry air). These are rather small concentrations. Using these observations, we could estimate the global emissions of c-C4F8O. These increased to about 0.15 kt/yr in 2004 but have strongly declined since. Despite these declining emissions, the compound is of concern, because it will remain in the atmosphere for a very long time due to its long lifetime.
Abundances, emissions, and loss processes of the long-lived and potent greenhouse gas octafluorooxolane (octafluorotetrahydrofuran, c-C4F8O) in the atmosphereVollmer, M.K., Bernard, F., Mitrevski, B., Steele, L.P., Trudinger, C.M., Reimann, S., Langenfelds, R.L., Krummel, P.B., Fraser, P.J., Etheridge, D.M., Curran, M.A.J., and Burkholder, J.B. 19, 3481-3492 10.5194/acp-19-3481-2019