Project Scientist

Research Interests

  • AGAGE (Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment)
  • Global Warming, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)
  • Stratospheric Ozone Depletion, Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs)
  • Global and regional emissions, loss processes, and lifetimes of ODSs and GHGs
  • Top-down (measurement based) verification of bottom-up emission estimates
  • Top-down (measurement based) verification of compliance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Paris Agreement
  • Halogenated trace gases
  • Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) and their emissions from global aluminium, rare-earth, and semi-conductor industries
  • Trace gas measurement techniques (GC-FID/ECD, GC/MSD, GC/TOF-MS, PTR-TOF-MS, CRDS)
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Wildfire emissions
  • Long-range transport of pollutants


  • Diploma in Chemistry, University of Wuppertal
  • Doctor of Natural Sciences, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Recent Publications

Leedham Elvidge, E, Bönisch H, Brenninkmeijer CAM, Engel A, Fraser PJ, Gallacher E, Langenfelds R, Mühle J, Oram DE, Ray EA, Ridley AR, Röckmann T, Sturges WT, Weiss RF, Laube JC.  2018.  Evaluation of stratospheric age of air from CF4, C2F6, C3F8, CHF3, HFC-125, HFC-227ea and SF6; implications for the calculations of halocarbon lifetimes, fractional release facto. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18:3369-3385.: Copernicus Publications   10.5194/acp-18-3369-2018   AbstractWebsite

In a changing climate, potential stratospheric circulation changes require long-term monitoring. Stratospheric trace gas measurements are often used as a proxy for stratospheric circulation changes via the “mean age of air” values derived from them. In this study, we investigated five potential age of air tracers – the perfluorocarbons CF4, C2F6 andC3F8 and the hydrofluorocarbons CHF3 (HFC-23) and HFC-125 – and compare them to the traditional tracer SF6 and a (relatively) shorter-lived species, HFC-227ea. A detailed uncertainty analysis was performed on mean ages derived from these “new” tracers to allow us to confidently compare their efficacy as age tracers to the existing tracer, SF6. Our resultsshowed that uncertainties associated with the mean age derived from these new age tracers are similar to those derived from SF6, suggesting that these alternative compounds are suitable in this respect for use as age tracers. Independent verification of the suitability of these age tracers is provided by a comparison between samples analysed at the Universityof East Anglia and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. All five tracers give younger mean ages than SF6, a discrepancy that increases with increasing mean age. Our findings qualitatively support recent work that suggests that the stratospheric lifetime of SF6 is significantly less than the previous estimate of 3200 years. The impact of these younger meanages on three policy-relevant parameters – stratospheric lifetimes, fractional release factors (FRFs) and ozone depletion potentials – is investigated in combination with a recently improved methodology to calculate FRFs. Updates to previous estimations for these parameters are provided.

Vollmer, MK, Young D, Trudinger CM, Mühle J, Henne S, Rigby M, Park S, Li S, Guillevic M, Mitrevski B, Harth CM, Miller BR, Reimann S, Yao B, Steele LP, Wyss SA, Lunder CR, Arduini J, McCulloch A, Wu S, Rhee TS, Wang RHJ, Salameh PK, Hermansen O, Hill M, Langenfelds RL, Ivy D, O'Doherty S, Krummel PB, Maione M, Etheridge DM, Zhou L, Fraser PJ, Prinn RG, Weiss RF, Simmonds PG.  2018.  Atmospheric histories and emissions of chlorofluorocarbons CFC-13 (CClF3), ΣCFC-114 (C2Cl2F4), and CFC-115 (C2ClF5). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18:979-1002.: Copernicus Publications   10.5194/acp-18-979-2018   AbstractWebsite
Simmonds, PG, Rigby M, McCulloch A, Vollmer MK, Henne S, Mühle J, O'Doherty S, Manning AJ, Krummel PB, Fraser PJ, Young D, Weiss RF, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Reimann S, Trudinger CM, Steele P, Wang RHJ, Ivy DJ, Prinn RG, Mitrevski B, Etheridge DM.  2018.  Recent increases in the atmospheric growth rate and emissions of HFC-23 (CHF3) and the link to HCFC-22 (CHClF2) production. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18:4153-4169.: Copernicus Publications   10.5194/acp-18-4153-2018   AbstractWebsite

High frequency measurements of trifluoromethane (HFC-23, CHF3), a potent hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gas, largely emitted to the atmosphere as a by-product of the production of the hydrochlorofluorocarbon HCFC-22 (CHClF2), at five core stations of the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) network, combined with measurements on firn air, old Northern Hemisphere air samples and Cape Grim Air Archive (CGAA) air samples, are used to explore the current and historic changes in the atmospheric abundance of HFC-23. These measurements are used in combination with the AGAGE 2-D atmospheric 12-box model and a Bayesian inversion methodology to determine model atmospheric mole fractions and the history of global HFC-23 emissions. The global modelled annual mole fraction of HFC-23 in the background atmosphere was 28.9 ± 0.6 pmol mol−1 at the end of 2016, representing a 28 % increase from 22.6 ± 0.4 pmol mol−1 in 2009. Over the same time frame, the modelled mole fraction of HCFC-22 increased by 19 % from 199 ± 2 to 237 ± 2 pmol mol−1. However, unlike HFC-23, the annual average HCFC-22 growth rate slowed from 2009 to 2016 at an annual average rate of −0.5 pmol mol−1 yr−2. This slowing atmospheric growth is consistent with HCFC-22 moving from dispersive (high fractional emissions) to feedstock (low fractional emissions) uses, with HFC-23 emissions remaining as a consequence of incomplete mitigation from all HCFC-22 production.Our results demonstrate that, following a minimum in HFC-23 global emissions in 2009 of 9.6 ± 0.6, emissions increased to a maximum in 2014 of 14.5 ± 0.6 Gg yr−1 and then declined to 12.7 ± 0.6 Gg yr−1 (157 Mt CO2 eq. yr−1) in 2016. The 2009 emissions minimum is consistent with estimates based on national reports and is likely a response to the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to mitigate HFC-23 emissions by incineration in developing (non-Annex 1) countries under the Kyoto Protocol. Our derived cumulative emissions of HFC-23 during 2010–2016 were 89 ± 2 Gg (1.1 ± 0.2 Gt CO2 eq.), which led to an increase in radiative forcing of 1.0 ± 0.1 mW m−2 over the same period. Although the CDM had reduced global HFC-23 emissions, it cannot now offset the higher emissions from increasing HCFC-22 production in non-Annex 1 countries, as the CDM was closed to new entrants in 2009. We also find that the cumulative European HFC-23 emissions from 2010 to 2016 were  ∼  1.3 Gg, corresponding to just 1.5 % of cumulative global HFC-23 emissions over this same period. The majority of the increase in global HFC-23 emissions since 2010 is attributed to a delay in the adoption of mitigation technologies, predominantly in China and East Asia. However, a reduction in emissions is anticipated, when the Kigali 2016 amendment to the Montreal Protocol, requiring HCFC and HFC production facilities to introduce destruction of HFC-23, is fully implemented.

Li, S, Park S, Park MK, Jo CO, Park S, Lee JY, Ha KJ, Oh H, Lee JY, Ha KJ, Oh H, Mühle J, Weiss RF, Kim KR, Montzka SA, Miller BR, Moore F, O'Doherty S, Krummel PB, Atlas E, Miller BR, Moore F, Wofsy SC.  2018.  Chemical evidence of inter-hemispheric air mass intrusion into the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes. Scientific Reports. 8:4669.   10.1038/s41598-018-22266-0   Abstract

The East Asian Summer Monsoon driven by temperature and moisture gradients between the Asian continent and the Pacific Ocean, leads to approximately 50% of the annual rainfall in the region across 20-40°N. Due to its increasing scientific and social importance, there have been several previous studies on identification of moisture sources for summer monsoon rainfall over East Asia mainly using Lagrangian or Eulerian atmospheric water vapor models. The major source regions for EASM previously proposed include the North Indian Ocean, South China Sea and North western Pacific. Based on high-precision and high-frequency 6-year measurement records of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), here we report a direct evidence of rapid intrusion of warm and moist tropical air mass from the Southern Hemisphere (SH) reaching within a couple of days up to 33°N into East Asia. We further suggest that the combination of direct chemical tracer record and a back-trajectory model with physical meteorological variables helps pave the way to identify moisture sources for monsoon rainfall. A case study for Gosan station (33.25°N, 126.19°E) indicates that the meridional transport of precipitable water from the SH accompanying the southerly/southwesterly flow contributes most significantly to its summer rainfall.[on SciFinder (R)]

Prinn, RG, Weiss RF, Arduini J, Arnold T, DeWitt HL, Fraser PJ, Ganesan AL, Gasore J, Harth CM, Hermansen O, Kim J, Krummel PB, Li S, Loh ZM, Lunder CR, Maione M, Manning AJ, Miller BR, Mitrevski B, Mühle J, O'Doherty S, Park S, Reimann S, Rigby M, Saito T, Salameh PK, Schmidt R, Simmonds PG, Steele LP, Vollmer MK, Wang RH, Yao B, Yokouchi Y, Young D, Zhou L.  2018.  History of chemically and radiatively important atmospheric gases from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE). Earth Syst. Sci. Data. 10:985-1018.: Copernicus Publications   10.5194/essd-10-985-2018   AbstractWebsite
Liang, Q, Chipperfield MP, Fleming EL, Abraham LN, Braesicke P, Burkholder JB, Daniel JS, Dhomse S, Fraser PJ, Hardiman SC, Jackman CH, Kinnison DE, Krummel PB, Montzka SA, Morgenstern O, McCulloch A, Mühle J, Newman PA, Orkin VL, Pitari G, Prinn RG, Rigby M, Rozanov E, Stenke A, Tummon F, Velders GJM, Visioni D, Weiss RF.  2017.  Deriving Global OH Abundance and Atmospheric Lifetimes for Long-Lived Gases: A Search for CH3CCl3 Alternatives. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 122:11914-11933.   10.1002/2017jd026926   AbstractWebsite

An accurate estimate of global hydroxyl radical (OH) abundance is important for projections of air quality, climate, and stratospheric ozone recovery. As the atmospheric mixing ratios of methyl chloroform (CH3CCl3) (MCF), the commonly used OH reference gas, approaches zero, it is important to find alternative approaches to infer atmospheric OH abundance and variability. The lack of global bottom-up emission inventories is the primary obstacle in choosing a MCF alternative. We illustrate that global emissions of long-lived trace gases can be inferred from their observed mixing ratio differences between the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH), given realistic estimates of their NH-SH exchange time, the emission partitioning between the two hemispheres, and the NH versus SH OH abundance ratio. Using the observed long-term trend and emissions derived from the measured hemispheric gradient, the combination of HFC-32 (CH2F2), HFC-134a (CH2FCF3, HFC-152a (CH3CHF2), and HCFC-22 (CHClF2), instead of a single gas, will be useful as a MCF alternative to infer global and hemispheric OH abundance and trace gas lifetimes. The primary assumption on which this multispecies approach relies is that the OH lifetimes can be estimated by scaling the thermal reaction rates of a reference gas at 272 K on global and hemispheric scales. Thus, the derived hemispheric and global OH estimates are forced to reconcile the observed trends and gradient for all four compounds simultaneously. However, currently, observations of these gases from the surface networks do not provide more accurate OH abundance estimate than that from MCF.