Atmospheric Trends and Lifetime of CH3CCI3 and Global OH Concentrations

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Science, Volume 269, Issue 5221, p.187 - 192 (1995)


0036-8075, 1095-9203



Determination of the atmospheric concentrations and lifetime of trichloroethane (CH3CCI3) is very important in the context of global change. This halocarbon is involved in depletion of ozone, and the hydroxyl radical (OH) concentrations determined from its lifetime provide estimates of the lifetimes of most other hydrogen-containing gases involved in the ozone layer and climate. Global measurements of trichloroethane indicate rising concentrations before and declining concentrations after late 1991. The lifetime of CH3CCI3 in the total atmosphere is 4.8 ± 0.3 years, which is substantially lower than previously estimated. The deduced hydroxyl radical concentration, which measures the atmosphere's oxidizing capability, shows little change from 1978 to 1994.