Unexpected nascent atmospheric emissions of three ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons

In this study, the need to detect and track unexpected substances in the atmosphere is demonstrated. The study reports on three hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which have no known purposeful end-uses. The three compounds are the newly discovered HCFC-132b, and two compounds reported on earlier, HCFC-133a and HCFC-31. Their full atmospheric histories since 1978 are determined using archived air and in-situ measurements. From these, global emissions are calculated, and also regional emissions for the Asian region. It is hypothesized that these compounds are emitted as intermediate/byproducts in chemical production pathways of the fluorine industry. Early discovery and identification of such unexpected emissions are important to help scale the problem and develop environmental policies in order to reduce unwanted and potentially harmful emissions before the scale of the problem becomes more costly to mitigate.

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Unexpected nascent atmospheric emissions of three ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbonsVollmer, M.K., Mühle, J., Henne, S., Young, D., Rigby, M., Mitrevski, B., Park, S., Lunder, C.R., Rhee, T. S., Harth, C.M., Hill, M., Langenfelds, R.L., Guillevic, M., Schlauri, P.M.; Hermansen, O., Arduini, J., Wang, R.H.J., Salameh, P.K., Maione, M., Krummel, P.B., Reimann, S., O’Doherty, S., Simmonds, P.G., Fraser, P.J., Prinn, R.G., Weiss, R.F., Steele, L. (2021), PNAS.118(5): p.e2010914118, doi:10.1073/pnas.2010914118.