A Mystery Source Is Producing Banned Ozone-Destroying Chemicals, Shocking Scientists

A Mystery Source Is Producing Banned Ozone-Destroying Chemicals, Shocking Scientists

"Further work is needed to figure out exactly why emissions of CFC11 are increasing, and if something can be done about it soon". Under the treaty's requirements, nations have reported less than 500 tons of new CFC-11 production per year since 2010.

If you thought the crisis over the gaping hole in the ozone layer was under control, prepare to be disappointed.

That said, if the prompt action isn't taken as soon as possible, these emissions can prove to be a major roadblock and delay the recovery of ozone. This insults everybody who's worked on this for the last 30 years.

According to the report, published in Nature and led by Stephen Montzka of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the amount of CFC-11 had gradually been declining over time as countries stopped producing it and what remained in the atmosphere faded out, but its rate of decline sharply decreased over the past year. CFC concentration in the atmosphere has declined by 15 percent from its peak in 1993, but over the past few years, the rate of decline has slowed down. "We don't know why they might be doing that and if it is being made for some specific goal, or inadvertently as a side product of some other chemical process".

Exploring further, the researchers found the concentration of CFC-11 to be unusually high in the Northern Hemisphere. Together, this analysis suggested the emissions are coming from east Asia.

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Measurements from Hawaii indicate the sources of the increasing emissions are likely in eastern Asia. A USA observatory in Hawaii found CFC-11 mixed in with other gases that were characteristic of a source coming from somewhere in east Asia, but scientists could not narrow the source down any further.

A study earlier this year found that the ozone layer is unexpectedly declining in the lower stratosphere - 10 to 24 km above sea level - over the planet's populated tropical and mid-latitude regions. Full implementation of the Montreal Protocol is expected to result in avoidance of more than 280 million cases of skin cancer, approximately 1.6 million skin cancer deaths, and more than 45 million cases of cataracts in the United States alone by the end of the century, with even greater benefits worldwide.

The study, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, identified two possible culprits: industrial chemicals not covered by the Montreal Protocol called "very short-lived substances" (VSLSs), or climate change, which would be far more hard to resolve.

We're raising a flag to the global community to say, "This is what's going on, and it is taking us away from timely recovery from ozone depletion". A new study finds that global CFC-11 emissions are on the rise again, suggesting that production of the banned chemicals continues from an unidentified source.

"The newer substances that are out there, the replacements for CFC-11, might be more hard or expensive for some countries to produce or get at". If you want more like this, head over to Science As Fact.

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