Mysterious rise in CFC11 emissions

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The new study has found that from 2014 to 2016, emissions of CFC-11 have increased by 25 percent above the average measured from 2002 to 2012, slowing the decline of the chemical by 50 percent from 2012. "I was astounded by it really". The startling resurgence of the chemical, reported in Nature, will likely spark an worldwide investigation to track down the mysterious source. This was partly because nations had all agreed to ban or phase out CFCs, which are short for "chlorofluorocarbons" but are simply called "ozone-depleting substances", due to an worldwide treaty back in the 1980s called the Montreal Protocol.

"It's worrisome that someone's cheating", he said. "There's some slight possibility there's an unintentional release, but. they make it clear there's strong evidence this is actually being produced".

Though they do not know who's responsible for the mysterious spike in CFC levels, the wide-spanning NOAA measurements, such as the difference between CFC-11 concentrations on both hemispheres, have hinted that the source might be located somewhere on the northern hemisphere, possibly around Eastern Asia.

Researchers at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have noticed an unexpected and persistent increase in ozone-destroying chemicals, called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

CFC-11 On The Rise Again?

They considered a range of alternative explanations for the growth, such as a change in atmospheric patterns that gradually remove CFC gases in the stratosphere, an increase in the rate of demolition of buildings containing old residues of CFC-11, or accidental production. Reports previous year indicated that production of new chlorine containing chemicals could cause significant delay.

The standard reference for CFC concentrations, the United Nations Environment Program's Handbook for the Montreal Protocol, reported in its 2012 edition that production of CFC-11 was very close to zero.

He adds that the results could have "huge implications" for ozone recovery.

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Last fall, it was reported that the hole in the Earth's ozone layer had shrunk to its smallest size since 1988, which was great news.

Two decades ago, CFCs - more potent by far as greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide or methane - accounted for around ten percent of human-induced global warming.

These could hamper the recovery of the ozone hole and worsen climate change.

"In the end, we concluded that it's most likely that someone may be producing the CFC-11 that's escaping to the atmosphere".

"I hope that somehow the global community can put pressure on South East Asian countries, maybe China, to go and look at whether they can get more information on where the emissions come from".

"If these emissions continue unabated, they have the potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer", Weller said in a statement.

The UNEP said that is was "critical that we take stock of this science, identify the causes of these emissions and take necessary action".