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Zhang, G, Yao B, Vollmer MK, Montzka SA, Mühle J, Weiss RF, O'Doherty S, Li Y, Fang S, Reimann S.  2017.  Ambient mixing ratios of atmospheric halogenated compounds at five background stations in China. Atmospheric Environment. 160:55-69.   10.1016/j.atmosenv.2017.04.017   AbstractWebsite

High precision measurements of three chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), three hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), six hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), three perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) were made at five Chinese background stations from January 2011 to December 2012. Their station means in the background air were 239.5 ± 0.69 parts-per-trillion dry-air mole fraction mixing ratios (ppt) for CFC-11, 536.5 ± 1.49 ppt for CFC-12, 74.66 ± 0.09 ppt for CFC-113, 232.1 ± 4.77 ppt for HCFC-22, 23.78 ± 0.29 ppt for HCFC-141b, 22.92 ± 0.42 ppt for HCFC-142b, 11.75 ± 0.43 ppt for HFC-125, 71.32 ± 1.35 ppt for HFC-134a, 13.62 ± 0.43 ppt for HFC-143a, 9.10 ± 1.26 ppt for HFC-152a, 25.45 ± 0.1 ppt for HFC-23, 7.28 ± 0.48 ppt for HFC-32, 4.32 ± 0.03 ppt for PFC-116, 0.63 ± 0.04 ppt for PFC-218, 1.36 ± 0.01 ppt for PFC-318, and 7.67 ± 0.03 ppt for SF6, respectively, which were comparable with those measured at the two Northern Hemisphere (NH) AGAGE stations: Mace Head, Ireland (MHD) and Trinidad Head, California, USA (THD). Compared with our results for earlier years from in-situ measurement at SDZ, background-air mixing ratios of CFCs are now declining, while those for HCFCs, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6 are still increasing. The ratios of the number of sampling events in which measured mixing ratios were elevated above background (pollution events) relative to the total sample frequency (POL/SUM) for CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs were found to be station dependent, generally LAN > SDZ > LFS > XGL > WLG. The enhancement (△, polluted mixing ratios minus background mixing ratios) generally show distinct patterns, with HCFCs (40.7–175.4 ppt) > HFCs (15.8–66.3 ppt)> CFCs (15.8–33.8 ppt)> PFCs (0.1–0.9 ppt) at five stations, especially for HCFC-22 ranging from 36.9 ppt to 138.2 ppt. Combining with the molecular weights, our findings imply biggest emissions of HCFCs in the regions around these Chinese sites compared to HFCs and CFCs, while the smallest of PFCs, consistent with CFCs being phased out and replaced with HCFCs in China. In addition, relative emission strengths (emission was expressed by mole fractions) of these halocarbons in China were inferred as HCFC-22 > HCFC-141b > HFC-134a > HCFC-142b for the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) and as HCFC-22 > HCFC-142b > HCFC-141b ≈ HFC-134a in the North China Plain (NCP).

Meinshausen, M, Vogel E, Nauels A, Lorbacher K, Meinshausen N, Etheridge DM, Fraser PJ, Montzka SA, Rayner PJ, Trudinger CM, Krummel PB, Beyerle U, Canadell JG, Daniel JS, Enting IG, Law RM, Lunder CR, O'Doherty S, Prinn RG, Reimann S, Rubino M, Velders GJM, Vollmer MK, Wang RHJ, Weiss R.  2017.  Historical greenhouse gas concentrations for climate modelling (CMIP6). Geoscientific Model Development. 10:2057-2116.   10.5194/gmd-10-2057-2017   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations are at unprecedented, record-high levels compared to the last 800 000 years. Those elevated GHG concentrations warm the planet and - partially offset by net cooling effects by aerosols - are largely responsible for the observed warming over the past 150 years. An accurate representation of GHG concentrations is hence important to understand and model recent climate change. So far, community efforts to create composite datasets of GHG concentrations with seasonal and latitudinal information have focused on marine boundary layer conditions and recent trends since the 1980s. Here, we provide consolidated datasets of historical atmospheric concentrations (mole fractions) of 43 GHGs to be used in the Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) experiments. The presented datasets are based on AGAGE and NOAA networks, firn and ice core data, and archived air data, and a large set of published studies. In contrast to previous intercomparisons, the new datasets are latitudinally resolved and include seasonality. We focus on the period 1850-2014 for historical CMIP6 runs, but data are also provided for the last 2000 years. Weprovide consolidated datasets in various spatiotemporal resolutions for carbon dioxide (CO2), mcthanc (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as 40 other GHGs, namely 17 ozone-depleting substances, 11 hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), 9 perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2). In addition we provide three equivalence species that aggregate concentrations of GHGs other than CO2, CH4 and N2O, weighted by their radiative forcing efficiencies. For the year 1850, which is used for pre-industrial control runs, we estimate annual global-mean surface concentrations of CO2 at 284.3 ppm, CH4 at 808.2 ppb and N2O at 273.0 ppb. The data are available at While the minimum CMIP6 recommendation is to use the global-and annual-mean time series, modelling groups can also choose our monthly and latitudinally resolved concentrations, which imply a stronger radiative forcing in the Northern Hemisphere winter (due to the latitudinal gradient and seasonality).

Simmonds, PG, Rigby M, McCulloch A, O'Doherty S, Young D, Mühle J, Krummel PB, Steele P, Fraser PJ, Manning AJ, Weiss RF, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Wang RHJ, Prinn RG.  2017.  Changing trends and emissions of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and their hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) replacements. Atmos. Chem. Phys.. 17:4641-4655.: Copernicus Publications   10.5194/acp-17-4641-2017   Abstract

High-frequency, in situ global observations of HCFC-22 (CHClF2), HCFC-141b (CH3CCl2F), HCFC-142b (CH3CClF2) and HCFC-124 (CHClFCF3) and their main HFC replacements, HFC-134a (CH2FCF3), HFC-125 (CHF2CF3), HFC-143a (CH3CF3) and HFC-32 (CH2F2), have been used to determine their changing global growth rates and emissions in response to the Montreal Protocol and its recent amendments. Global mean mole fractions of HCFC-22, -141b, and -142b have increased throughout the observation period, reaching 234, 24.3 and 22.4 pmol mol−1, respectively, in 2015. HCFC-124 reached a maximum global mean mole fraction of 1.48 pmol mol−1 in 2007 and has since declined by 23 % to 1.14 pmol mol−1 in 2015. The HFCs all show increasing global mean mole fractions. In 2015 the global mean mole fractions (pmol mol−1) were 83.3 (HFC-134a), 18.4 (HFC-125), 17.7 (HFC-143a) and 10.5 (HFC-32).The 2007 adjustment to the Montreal Protocol required the accelerated phase-out of emissive uses of HCFCs with global production and consumption capped in 2013 to mitigate their environmental impact as both ozone-depleting substances and important greenhouse gases. We find that this change has coincided with a stabilisation, or moderate reduction, in global emissions of the four HCFCs with aggregated global emissions in 2015 of 449 ± 75 Gg yr−1, in CO2 equivalent units (CO2 eq.) 0.76 ± 0.1 Gt yr−1, compared with 483 ± 70 Gg yr−1 (0.82 ± 0.1 Gt yr−1 CO2 eq.) in 2010 (uncertainties are 1σ throughout this paper). About 79 % of the total HCFC atmospheric burden in 2015 is HCFC-22, where global emissions appear to have been relatively similar since 2011, in spite of the 2013 cap on emissive uses. We attribute this to a probable increase in production and consumption of HCFC-22 in Montreal Protocol Article 5 (developing) countries and the continuing release of HCFC-22 from the large banks which dominate HCFC global emissions. Conversely, the four HFCs all show increasing mole fraction growth rates with aggregated global HFC emissions of 327 ± 70 Gg yr−1 (0.65 ± 0.12 Gt yr−1 CO2 eq.) in 2015 compared to 240 ± 50 Gg yr−1 (0.47 ± 0.08 Gt yr−1 CO2 eq.) in 2010. We also note that emissions of HFC-125 and HFC-32 appear to have increased more rapidly averaged over the 5-year period 2011–2015, compared to 2006–2010. As noted by Lunt et al. (2015) this may reflect a change to refrigerant blends, such as R-410A, which contain HFC-32 and -125 as a 50 : 50 blend.

Rigby, M, Montzka SA, Prinn RG, White JWC, Young D, O’Doherty S, Lunt MF, Ganesan AL, Manning AJ, Simmonds PG, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Mühle J, Weiss RF, Fraser PJ, Steele PL, Krummel PB, McCulloch A, Park S.  2017.  Role of atmospheric oxidation in recent methane growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   10.1073/pnas.1616426114   Abstract

The growth in global methane (CH4) concentration, which had been ongoing since the industrial revolution, stalled around the year 2000 before resuming globally in 2007. We evaluate the role of the hydroxyl radical (OH), the major CH4 sink, in the recent CH4 growth. We also examine the influence of systematic uncertainties in OH concentrations on CH4 emissions inferred from atmospheric observations. We use observations of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (CH3CCl3), which is lost primarily through reaction with OH, to estimate OH levels as well as CH3CC3 emissions, which have uncertainty that previously limited the accuracy of OH estimates. We find a 64–70% probability that a decline in OH has contributed to the post-2007 methane rise. Our median solution suggests that CH4 emissions increased relatively steadily during the late 1990s and early 2000s, after which growth was more modest. This solution obviates the need for a sudden statistically significant change in total CH4 emissions around the year 2007 to explain the atmospheric observations and can explain some of the decline in the atmospheric 13CH4/12CH4 ratio and the recent growth in C2H6. Our approach indicates that significant OH-related uncertainties in the CH4 budget remain, and we find that it is not possible to implicate, with a high degree of confidence, rapid global CH4 emissions changes as the primary driver of recent trends when our inferred OH trends and these uncertainties are considered.

Simmonds, PG, Rigby M, Manning AJ, Lunt MF, O'Doherty S, McCulloch A, Fraser PJ, Henne S, Vollmer MK, Muhle J, Weiss RF, Salameh PK, Young D, Reimann S, Wenger A, Arnold T, Harth CM, Krummel PB, Steele LP, Dunse BL, Miller BR, Lunder CR, Hermansen O, Schmidbauer N, Saito T, Yokouchi Y, Park S, Li S, Yao B, Zhou LX, Arduini J, Maione M, Wang RHJ, Ivy D, Prinn RG.  2016.  Global and regional emissions estimates of 1,1-difluoroethane (HFC-152a, CH3CHF2) from in situ and air archive observations. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 16:365-382.   10.5194/acp-16-365-2016   AbstractWebsite

High frequency, in situ observations from 11 globally distributed sites for the period 1994-2014 and archived air measurements dating from 1978 onward have been used to determine the global growth rate of 1,1-difluoroethane (HFC-152a, CH3CHF2). These observations have been combined with a range of atmospheric transport models to derive global emission estimates in a top-down approach. HFC-152a is a greenhouse gas with a short atmospheric lifetime of about 1.5 years. Since it does not contain chlorine or bromine, HFC-152a makes no direct contribution to the destruction of stratospheric ozone and is therefore used as a substitute for the ozone de- pleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The concentration of HFC-152a has grown substantially since the first direct measurements in 1994, reaching a maximum annual global growth rate of 0.84 +/- 0.05 ppt yr(-1) in 2006, implying a substantial increase in emissions up to 2006. However, since 2007, the annual rate of growth has slowed to 0.38 +/- 0.04 ppt yr(-1) in 2010 with a further decline to an annual average rate of growth in 2013-2014 of -0.06 +/- 0.05 ppt yr(-1). The annual average Northern Hemisphere (NH) mole fraction in 1994 was 1.2 ppt rising to an annual average mole fraction of 10.1 ppt in 2014. Average annual mole fractions in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) in 1998 and 2014 were 0.84 and 4.5 ppt, respectively. We estimate global emissions of HFC-152a have risen from 7.3 +/- 5.6 Gg yr(-1) in 1994 to a maximum of 54.4 +/- 17.1 Gg yr(-1) in 2011, declining to 52.5 +/- 20.1 Gg yr(-1) in 2014 or 7.2 +/- 2.8 Tg-CO2 eq yr(-1). Analysis of mole fraction enhancements above regional background atmospheric levels suggests substantial emissions from North America, Asia, and Europe. Global HFC emissions (so called "bottom up" emissions) reported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are based on cumulative national emission data reported to the UNFCCC, which in turn are based on national consumption data. There appears to be a significant underestimate (> 20 Gg) of "bottom-up" reported emissions of HFC-152a, possibly arising from largely underestimated USA emissions and undeclared Asian emissions.

Saunois, M, Bousquet P, Poulter B, Peregon A, Ciais P, Canadell JG, Dlugokencky EJ, Etiope G, Bastviken D, Houweling S, Janssens-Maenhout G, Tubiello FN, Castaldi S, Jackson RB, Alexe M, Arora VK, Beerling DJ, Bergamaschi P, Blake DR, Brailsford G, Brovkin V, Bruhwiler L, Crevoisier C, Crill P, Covey K, Curry C, Frankenberg C, Gedney N, Hoglund-Isaksson L, Ishizawa M, Ito A, Joos F, Kim HS, Kleinen T, Krummel P, Lamarque JF, Langenfelds R, Locatelli R, Machida T, Maksyutov S, McDonald KC, Marshall J, Melton JR, Morino I, Naik V, O'Doherty S, Parmentier FJW, Patra PK, Peng CH, Peng SS, Peters GP, Pison I, Prigent C, Prinn R, Ramonet M, Riley WJ, Saito M, Santini M, Schroeder R, Simpson IJ, Spahni R, Steele P, Takizawa A, Thornton BF, Tian HQ, Tohjima Y, Viovy N, Voulgarakis A, van Weele M, van der Werf GR, Weiss R, Wiedinmyer C, Wilton DJ, Wiltshire A, Worthy D, Wunch D, Xu XY, Yoshida Y, Zhang B, Zhang Z, Zhu Q.  2016.  The global methane budget 2000-2012. Earth System Science Data. 8:697-751.   10.5194/essd-8-697-2016   AbstractWebsite

The global methane (CH4) budget is becoming an increasingly important component for managing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. This relevance, due to a shorter atmospheric lifetime and a stronger warming potential than carbon dioxide, is challenged by the still unexplained changes of atmospheric CH4 over the past decade. Emissions and concentrations of CH4 are continuing to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-induced greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Two major difficulties in reducing uncertainties come from the large variety of diffusive CH4 sources that overlap geographically, and from the destruction of CH4 by the very short-lived hydroxyl radical (OH). To address these difficulties, we have established a consortium of multi-disciplinary scientists under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project to synthesize and stimulate research on the methane cycle, and producing regular (similar to biennial) updates of the global methane budget. This consortium includes atmospheric physicists and chemists, biogeochemists of surface and marine emissions, and socio-economists who study anthropogenic emissions. Following Kirschke et al. (2013), we propose here the first version of a living review paper that integrates results of top-down studies (exploiting atmospheric observations within an atmospheric inverse-modelling framework) and bottom-up models, inventories and data-driven approaches (including process-based models for estimating land surface emissions and atmospheric chemistry, and inventories for anthropogenic emissions, data-driven extrapolations). For the 2003-2012 decade, global methane emissions are estimated by top-down inversions at 558 TgCH(4) yr(-1), range 540-568. About 60% of global emissions are anthropogenic (range 50-65 %). Since 2010, the bottom-up global emission inventories have been closer to methane emissions in the most carbon-intensive Representative Concentrations Pathway (RCP8.5) and higher than all other RCP scenarios. Bottom-up approaches suggest larger global emissions (736 TgCH(4) yr(-1), range 596-884) mostly because of larger natural emissions from individual sources such as inland waters, natural wetlands and geological sources. Considering the atmospheric constraints on the top-down budget, it is likely that some of the individual emissions reported by the bottom-up approaches are overestimated, leading to too large global emissions. Latitudinal data from top-down emissions indicate a predominance of tropical emissions (similar to 64% of the global budget, <30 degrees N) as compared to mid (similar to 32 %, 30-60 degrees N) and high northern latitudes (similar to 4 %, 60-90 degrees N). Top-down inversions consistently infer lower emissions in China (similar to 58 TgCH(4) yr(-1), range 51-72, -14 %) and higher emissions in Africa (86 TgCH(4) yr(-1), range 73-108, + 19 %) than bottom-up values used as prior estimates. Overall, uncertainties for anthropogenic emissions appear smaller than those from natural sources, and the uncertainties on source categories appear larger for top-down inversions than for bottom-up inventories and models. The most important source of uncertainty on the methane budget is attributable to emissions from wetland and other inland waters. We show that the wetland extent could contribute 30-40% on the estimated range for wetland emissions. Other priorities for improving the methane budget include the following: (i) the development of process-based models for inland-water emissions, (ii) the intensification of methane observations at local scale (flux measurements) to constrain bottom-up land surface models, and at regional scale (surface networks and satellites) to constrain top-down inversions, (iii) improvements in the estimation of atmospheric loss by OH, and (iv) improvements of the transport models integrated in top-down inversions. The data presented here can be downloaded from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center ( and the Global Carbon Project.

Chipperfield, MP, Liang Q, Rigby M, Hossaini R, Montzka SA, Dhomse S, Feng WH, Prinn RG, Weiss RF, Harth CM, Salameh PK, Muhle J, O'Doherty S, Young D, Simmonds PG, Krummel PB, Fraser PJ, Steele LP, Happell JD, Rhew RC, Butler J, Yvon-Lewis SA, Hall B, Nance D, Moore F, Miller BR, Elkins J, Harrison JJ, Boone CD, Atlas EL, Mahieu E.  2016.  Model sensitivity studies of the decrease in atmospheric carbon tetrachloride. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 16:15741-15754.   10.5194/acp-16-15741-2016   AbstractWebsite

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is an ozone-depleting substance, which is controlled by the Montreal Protocol and for which the atmospheric abundance is decreasing. However, the current observed rate of this decrease is known to be slower than expected based on reported CCl4 emissions and its estimated overall atmospheric lifetime. Here we use a three-dimensional (3-D) chemical transport model to investigate the impact on its predicted decay of uncertainties in the rates at which CCl4 is removed from the atmosphere by photolysis, by ocean uptake and by degradation in soils. The largest sink is atmospheric photolysis (74% of total), but a reported 10% uncertainty in its combined photolysis cross section and quantum yield has only a modest impact on the modelled rate of CCl4 decay. This is partly due to the limiting effect of the rate of transport of CCl4 from the main tropospheric reservoir to the stratosphere, where photolytic loss occurs. The model suggests large interannual variability in the magnitude of this stratospheric photolysis sink caused by variations in transport. The impact of uncertainty in the minor soil sink (9% of total) is also relatively small. In contrast, the model shows that uncertainty in ocean loss (17% of total) has the largest impact on modelled CCl4 decay due to its sizeable contribution to CCl4 loss and large lifetime uncertainty range (147 to 241 years). With an assumed CCl4 emission rate of 39 Gg year(-1), the reference simulation with the best estimate of loss processes still underestimates the observed CCl4 (overestimates the decay) over the past 2 decades but to a smaller extent than previous studies. Changes to the rate of CCl4 loss processes, in line with known uncertainties, could bring the model into agreement with in situ surface and remote-sensing measurements, as could an increase in emissions to around 47 Gg year(-1). Further progress in constraining the CCl4 budget is partly limited by systematic biases between observational datasets. For example, surface observations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) network are larger than from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) network but have shown a steeper decreasing trend over the past 2 decades. These differences imply a difference in emissions which is significant relative to uncertainties in the magnitudes of the CCl4 sinks.

Jeong, SG, Newman S, Zhang JS, Andrews AE, Bianco L, Bagley J, Cui XG, Graven H, Kim J, Salameh P, LaFranchi BW, Priest C, Campos-Pineda M, Novakovskaia E, Sloop CD, Michelsen HA, Bambha RP, Weiss RF, Keeling R, Fischer ML.  2016.  Estimating methane emissions in California's urban and rural regions using multitower observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 121:13031-13049.   10.1002/2016jd025404   AbstractWebsite

We present an analysis of methane (CH4) emissions using atmospheric observations from 13 sites in California during June 2013 to May 2014. A hierarchical Bayesian inversion method is used to estimate CH4 emissions for spatial regions (0.3 degrees pixels for major regions) by comparing measured CH4 mixing ratios with transport model (Weather Research and Forecasting and Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport) predictions based on seasonally varying California-specific CH4 prior emission models. The transport model is assessed using a combination of meteorological and carbon monoxide (CO) measurements coupled with the gridded California Air Resources Board (CARB) CO emission inventory. The hierarchical Bayesian inversion suggests that state annual anthropogenic CH4 emissions are 2.42 +/- 0.49 Tg CH4/yr (at 95% confidence), higher (1.2-1.8 times) than the current CARB inventory (1.64 Tg CH4/yr in 2013). It should be noted that undiagnosed sources of errors or uncaptured errors in the model-measurement mismatch covariance may increase these uncertainty bounds beyond that indicated here. The CH4 emissions from the Central Valley and urban regions (San Francisco Bay and South Coast Air Basins) account for similar to 58% and 26% of the total posterior emissions, respectively. This study suggests that the livestock sector is likely the major contributor to the state total CH4 emissions, in agreement with CARB's inventory. Attribution to source sectors for subregions of California using additional trace gas species would further improve the quantification of California's CH4 emissions and mitigation efforts toward the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32).

McNorton, J, Chipperfield MP, Gloor M, Wilson C, Feng WH, Hayman GD, Rigby M, Krummel PB, O'Doherty S, Prinn RG, Weiss RF, Young D, Dlugokencky E, Montzka SA.  2016.  Role of OH variability in the stalling of the global atmospheric CH4 growth rate from 1999 to 2006. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 16:7943-7956.   10.5194/acp-16-7943-2016   AbstractWebsite

The growth in atmospheric methane (CH4) concentrations over the past 2 decades has shown large variability on a timescale of several years. Prior to 1999 the globally averaged CH4 concentration was increasing at a rate of 6.0aEuro-ppbaEuro-yr(-1), but during a stagnation period from 1999 to 2006 this growth rate slowed to 0.6aEuro-ppbaEuro-yr(-1). From 2007 to 2009 the growth rate again increased to 4.9aEuro-ppbaEuro-yr(-1). These changes in growth rate are usually ascribed to variations in CH4 emissions. We have used a 3-D global chemical transport model, driven by meteorological reanalyses and variations in global mean hydroxyl (OH) concentrations derived from CH3CCl3 observations from two independent networks, to investigate these CH4 growth variations. The model shows that between 1999 and 2006 changes in the CH4 atmospheric loss contributed significantly to the suppression in global CH4 concentrations relative to the pre-1999 trend. The largest factor in this is relatively small variations in global mean OH on a timescale of a few years, with minor contributions of atmospheric transport of CH4 to its sink region and of atmospheric temperature. Although changes in emissions may be important during the stagnation period, these results imply a smaller variation is required to explain the observed CH4 trends. The contribution of OH variations to the renewed CH4 growth after 2007 cannot be determined with data currently available.

Dalsoren, SB, Myhre CL, Myhre G, Gomez-Pelaez AJ, Sovde OA, Isaksen ISA, Weiss RF, Harth CM.  2016.  Atmospheric methane evolution the last 40 years. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 16:3099-3126.   10.5194/acp-16-3099-2016   AbstractWebsite

Observations at surface sites show an increase in global mean surface methane (CH4) of about 180 parts per billion (ppb) (above 10 %) over the period 1984-2012. Over this period there are large fluctuations in the annual growth rate. In this work, we investigate the atmospheric CH4 evolution over the period 1970-2012 with the Oslo CTM3 global chemical transport model (CTM) in a bottom-up approach. We thoroughly assess data from surface measurement sites in international networks and select a subset suited for comparisons with the output from the CTM. We compare model results and observations to understand causes for both long-term trends and short-term variations. Employing Oslo CTM3 we are able to reproduce the seasonal and year-to-year variations and shifts between years with consecutive growth and stagnation, both at global and regional scales. The overall CH4 trend over the period is reproduced, but for some periods the model fails to reproduce the strength of the growth. The model overestimates the observed growth after 2006 in all regions. This seems to be explained by an overly strong increase in anthropogenic emissions in Asia, having global impact. Our findings confirm other studies questioning the timing or strength of the emission changes in Asia in the EDGAR v4.2 emission inventory over recent decades. The evolution of CH4 is not only controlled by changes in sources, but also by changes in the chemical loss in the atmosphere and soil uptake. The atmospheric CH4 lifetime is an indicator of the CH4 loss. In our simulations, the atmospheric CH4 lifetime decreases by more than 8 % from 1970 to 2012, a significant reduction of the residence time of this important greenhouse gas. Changes in CO and NOx emissions, specific humidity, and ozone column drive most of this, and we provide simple prognostic equations for the relations between those and the CH4 lifetime. The reduced lifetime results in substantial growth in the chemical CH4 loss (relative to its burden) and dampens the CH4 growth.

Vollmer, MK, Muhle J, Trudinger CM, Rigby M, Montzka SA, Harth CM, Miller BR, Henne S, Krummel PB, Hall BD, Young D, Kim J, Arduini J, Wenger A, Yao B, Reimann S, O'Doherty S, Maione M, Etheridge DM, Li SL, Verdonik DP, Park S, Dutton G, Steele LP, Lunder CR, Rhee TS, Hermansen O, Schmidbauer N, Wang RHJ, Hill M, Salameh PK, Langenfelds RL, Zhou LX, Blunier T, Schwander J, Elkins JW, Butler JH, Simmonds PG, Weiss RF, Prinn RG, Fraser PJ.  2016.  Atmospheric histories and global emissions of halons H-1211 (CBrClF2), H-1301 (CBrF3), and H-2402 (CBrF2CBrF2). Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 121:3663-3686.   10.1002/2015jd024488   AbstractWebsite

We report ground-based atmospheric measurements and emission estimates for the halons H-1211 (CBrClF2), H-1301 (CBrF3), and H-2402 (CBrF2CBrF2) from the AGAGE (Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration global networks. We also include results from archived air samples in canisters and from polar firn in both hemispheres, thereby deriving an atmospheric record of nearly nine decades (1930s to present). All three halons were absent from the atmosphere until approximate to 1970, when their atmospheric burdens started to increase rapidly. In recent years H-1211 and H-2402 mole fractions have been declining, but H-1301 has continued to grow. High-frequency observations show continuing emissions of H-1211 and H-1301 near most AGAGE sites. For H-2402 the only emissions detected were derived from the region surrounding the Sea of Japan/East Sea. Based on our observations, we derive global emissions using two different inversion approaches. Emissions for H-1211 declined from a peak of 11ktyr(-1) (late 1990s) to 3.9ktyr(-1) at the end of our record (mean of 2013-2015), for H-1301 from 5.4ktyr(-1) (late 1980s) to 1.6ktyr(-1), and for H-2402 from 1.8ktyr(-1) (late 1980s) to 0.38ktyr(-1). Yearly summed halon emissions have decreased substantially; nevertheless, since 2000 they have accounted for approximate to 30% of the emissions of all major anthropogenic ozone depletion substances, when weighted by ozone depletion potentials.

Chirkov, M, Stiller GP, Laeng A, Kellmann S, von Clarmann T, Boone CD, Elkins JW, Engel A, Glatthor N, Grabowski U, Harth CM, Kiefer M, Kolonjari F, Krummel PB, Linden A, Lunder CR, Miller BR, Montzka SA, Mühle J, O'Doherty S, Orphal J, Prinn RG, Toon G, Vollmer MK, Walker KA, Weiss RF, Wiegele A, Young D.  2016.  Global HCFC-22 measurements with MIPAS: retrieval, validation, global distribution and its evolution over 2005–2012. Atmos. Chem. Phys.. 16:3345-3368.: Copernicus Publications   10.5194/acp-16-3345-2016   AbstractWebsite

We report on HCFC-22 data acquired by the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) in the reduced spectral resolution nominal observation mode. The data cover the period from January 2005 to April 2012 and the altitude range from the upper troposphere (above cloud top altitude) to about 50 km. The profile retrieval was performed by constrained nonlinear least squares fitting of modelled spectra to the measured limb spectral radiances. The spectral ν4-band at 816.5 ± 13 cm−1 was used for the retrieval. A Tikhonov-type smoothing constraint was applied to stabilise the retrieval. In the lower stratosphere, we find a global volume mixing ratio of HCFC-22 of about 185 pptv in January 2005. The rate of linear growth in the lower latitudes lower stratosphere was about 6 to 7 pptv year−1 in the period 2005–2012. The profiles obtained were compared with ACE-FTS satellite data v3.5, as well as with MkIV balloon profiles and cryosampler balloon measurements. Between 13 and 22 km, average agreement within −3 to +5 pptv (MIPAS – ACE) with ACE-FTS v3.5 profiles is demonstrated. Agreement with MkIV solar occultation balloon-borne measurements is within 10–20 pptv below 30 km and worse above, while in situ cryosampler balloon measurements are systematically lower over their full altitude range by 15–50 pptv below 24 km and less than 10 pptv above 28 km. MIPAS HCFC-22 time series below 10 km altitude are shown to agree mostly well to corresponding time series of near-surface abundances from the NOAA/ESRL and AGAGE networks, although a more pronounced seasonal cycle is obvious in the satellite data. This is attributed to tropopause altitude fluctuations and subsidence of polar winter stratospheric air into the troposphere. A parametric model consisting of constant, linear, quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and several sine and cosine terms with different periods has been fitted to the temporal variation of stratospheric HCFC-22 for all 10°-latitude/1-to-2-km-altitude bins. The relative linear variation was always positive, with relative increases of 40–70 % decade−1 in the tropics and global lower stratosphere, and up to 120 % decade−1 in the upper stratosphere of the northern polar region and the southern extratropical hemisphere. Asian HCFC-22 emissions have become the major source of global upper tropospheric HCFC-22. In the upper troposphere, monsoon air, rich in HCFC-22, is instantaneously mixed into the tropics. In the middle stratosphere, between 20 and 30 km, the observed trend is inconsistent with the trend at the surface (corrected for the age of stratospheric air), hinting at circulation changes. There exists a stronger positive trend in HCFC-22 in the Southern Hemisphere and a more muted positive trend in the Northern Hemisphere, implying a potential change in the stratospheric circulation over the observation period.

Petrenko, VV, Severinghaus JP, Schaefer H, Smith AM, Kuhl T, Baggenstos D, Hua Q, Brook EJ, Rose P, Kulin R, Bauska T, Harth C, Buizert C, Orsi A, Emanuele G, Lee JE, Brailsford G, Keeling R, Weiss RF.  2016.  Measurements of 14C in ancient ice from Taylor Glacier, Antarctica constrain in situ cosmogenic 14CH4 and 14CO production rates. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 177:62-77.   10.1016/j.gca.2016.01.004   Abstract

Carbon-14 (14C) is incorporated into glacial ice by trapping of atmospheric gases as well as direct near-surface in situ cosmogenic production. 14C of trapped methane (14CH4) is a powerful tracer for past CH4 emissions from “old” carbon sources such as permafrost and marine CH4 clathrates. 14C in trapped carbon dioxide (14CO2) can be used for absolute dating of ice cores. In situ produced cosmogenic 14C in carbon monoxide (14CO) can potentially be used to reconstruct the past cosmic ray flux and past solar activity. Unfortunately, the trapped atmospheric and in situ cosmogenic components of 14C in glacial ice are difficult to disentangle and a thorough understanding of the in situ cosmogenic component is needed in order to extract useful information from ice core 14C. We analyzed very large (≈1000 kg) ice samples in the 2.26–19.53 m depth range from the ablation zone of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, to study in situ cosmogenic production of 14CH4 and 14CO. All sampled ice is >50 ka in age, allowing for the assumption that most of the measured 14C originates from recent in situ cosmogenic production as ancient ice is brought to the surface via ablation. Our results place the first constraints on cosmogenic 14CH4 production rates and improve on prior estimates of 14CO production rates in ice. We find a constant 14CH4/14CO production ratio (0.0076 ± 0.0003) for samples deeper than 3 m, which allows the use of 14CO for correcting the 14CH4 signals for the in situ cosmogenic component. Our results also provide the first unambiguous confirmation of 14C production by fast muons in a natural setting (ice or rock) and suggest that the 14C production rates in ice commonly used in the literature may be too high.

Fortems-Cheiney, A, Saunois M, Pison I, Chevallier F, Bousquet P, Cressot C, Montzka SA, Fraser PJ, Vollmer MK, Simmonds PG, Young D, O'Doherty S, Weiss RF, Artuso F, Barletta B, Blake DR, Li S, Lunder C, Miller BR, Park S, Prinn R, Saito T, Steele LP, Yokouchi Y.  2015.  Increase in HFC-134a emissions in response to the success of the Montreal Protocol. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120   10.1002/2015jd023741   AbstractWebsite

The 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane (HFC-134a), an important alternative to CFC-12 in accordance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, is a high global warming potential greenhouse gas. Here we evaluate variations in global and regional HFC-134a emissions and emission trends, from 1995 to 2010, at a relatively high spatial and temporal (3.75 degrees in longitude x 2.5 degrees in latitude and 8 day) resolution, using surface HFC-134a measurements. Our results show a progressive increase of global HFC-134a emissions from 19 +/- 2 Gg/yr in 1995 to 167 +/- 5 Gg/yr in 2010, with both a slowdown in developed countries and a 20%/yr increase in China since 2005. A seasonal cycle is also seen since 2002, which becomes enhanced over time, with larger values during the boreal summer.

Wells, KC, Millet DB, Bousserez N, Henze DK, Chaliyakunnel S, Griffis TJ, Luan Y, Dlugokencky EJ, Prinn RG, O'Doherty S, Weiss RF, Dutton GS, Elkins JW, Krummel PB, Langenfelds R, Steele LP, Kort EA, Wofsy SC, Umezawa T.  2015.  Simulation of atmospheric N2O with GEOS-Chem and its adjoint: evaluation of observational constraints. Geoscientific Model Development. 8:3179-3198.   10.5194/gmd-8-3179-2015   AbstractWebsite

We describe a new 4D-Var inversion framework for nitrous oxide (N2O) based on the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model and its adjoint, and apply it in a series of observing system simulation experiments to assess how well N2O sources and sinks can be constrained by the current global observing network. The employed measurement ensemble includes approximately weekly and quasicontinuous N2O measurements (hourly averages used) from several long-term monitoring networks, N2O measurements collected from discrete air samples onboard a commercial aircraft (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container; CARIBIC), and quasi-continuous measurements from the airborne HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) campaigns. For a 2-year inversion, we find that the surface and HIPPO observations can accurately resolve a uniform bias in emissions during the first year; CARIBIC data provide a somewhat weaker constraint. Variable emission errors are much more difficult to resolve given the long lifetime of N2O, and major parts of the world lack significant constraints on the seasonal cycle of fluxes. Current observations can largely correct a global bias in the stratospheric sink of N2O if emissions are known, but do not provide information on the temporal and spatial distribution of the sink. However, for the more realistic scenario where source and sink are both uncertain, we find that simultaneously optimizing both would require unrealistically small errors in model transport. Regardless, a bias in the magnitude of the N2O sink would not affect the a posteriori N2O emissions for the 2-year timescale used here, given realistic initial conditions, due to the timescale required for stratosphere-troposphere exchange (STE). The same does not apply to model errors in the rate of STE itself, which we show exerts a larger influence on the tropospheric burden of N2O than does the chemical loss rate over short (< 3 year) timescales. We use a stochastic estimate of the inverse Hessian for the inversion to evaluate the spatial resolution of emission constraints provided by the observations, and find that significant, spatially explicit constraints can be achieved in locations near and immediately upwind of surface measurements and the HIPPO flight tracks; however, these are mostly confined to North America, Europe, and Australia. None of the current observing networks are able to provide significant spatial information on tropical N2O emissions. There, averaging kernels (describing the sensitivity of the inversion to emissions in each grid square) are highly smeared spatially and extend even to the midlatitudes, so that tropical emissions risk being conflated with those elsewhere. For global inversions, therefore, the current lack of constraints on the tropics also places an important limit on our ability to understand extratropical emissions. Based on the error reduction statistics from the inverse Hessian, we characterize the atmospheric distribution of unconstrained N2O, and identify regions in and downwind of South America, central Africa, and Southeast Asia where new surface or profile measurements would have the most value for reducing present uncertainty in the global N2O budget.

Lucas, DD, Yver Kwok C, Cameron-Smith P, Graven H, Bergmann D, Guilderson TP, Weiss R, Keeling R.  2015.  Designing optimal greenhouse gas observing networks that consider performance and cost. Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst.. 4:121-137.: Copernicus Publications   10.5194/gi-4-121-2015   AbstractWebsite
Thompson, RL, Stohl A, Zhou LX, Dlugokencky E, Fukuyama Y, Tohjima Y, Kim SY, Lee H, Nisbet EG, Fisher RE, Lowry D, Weiss RF, Prinn RG, O'Doherty S, Young D, White JWC.  2015.  Methane emissions in East Asia for 2000-2011 estimated using an atmospheric Bayesian inversion. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120:4352-4369.   10.1002/2014jd022394   AbstractWebsite

We present methane (CH4) emissions for East Asia from a Bayesian inversion of CH4 mole fraction and stable isotope (C-13-CH4) measurements. Emissions were estimated at monthly resolution from 2000 to 2011. A posteriori, the total emission for East Asia increased from 434 to 594Tgyr(-1) between 2000 and 2011, owing largely to the increase in emissions from China, from 394 to 544Tgyr(-1), while emissions in other East Asian countries remained relatively stable. For China, South Korea, and Japan, the total emissions were smaller than the prior estimates (i.e., Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research 4.2 FT2010 for anthropogenic emissions) by an average of 29%, 20%, and 23%, respectively. For Mongolia, Taiwan, and North Korea, the total emission was less than 2Tgyr(-1) and was not significantly different from the prior. The largest reductions in emissions, compared to the prior, occurred in summer in regions important for rice agriculture suggesting that this source is overestimated in the prior. Furthermore, an analysis of the isotope data suggests that the prior underestimates emissions from landfills and ruminant animals for winter 2010 to spring 2011 (no data available for other times). The inversion also found a lower average emission trend for China, 1.2Tgyr(-1) compared to 2.8Tgyr(-1) in the prior. This trend was not constant, however, and increased significantly after 2005, up to 2.0Tgyr(-1). Overall, the changes in emissions from China explain up to 40% of the increase in global emissions in the 2000s.

Lunt, MF, Rigby M, Ganesan AL, Manning AJ, Prinn RG, O'Doherty S, Muhle J, Harth CM, Salameh PK, Arnold T, Weiss RF, Saito T, Yokouchi Y, Krummel PB, Steele LP, Fraser PJ, Li SL, Park S, Reimann S, Vollmer MK, Lunder C, Hermansen O, Schmidbauer N, Maione M, Arduini J, Young D, Simmonds PG.  2015.  Reconciling reported and unreported HFC emissions with atmospheric observations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112:5927-5931.   10.1073/pnas.1420247112   AbstractWebsite

We infer global and regional emissions of five of the most abundant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) using atmospheric measurements from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment and the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, networks. We find that the total CO2-equivalent emissions of the five HFCs from countries that are required to provide detailed, annual reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) increased from 198 (175-221) Tg-CO2-eq.y(-1) in 2007 to 275 (246-304) Tg-CO2-eq.y(-1) in 2012. These global warming potential-weighted aggregated emissions agree well with those reported to the UNFCCC throughout this period and indicate that the gap between reported emissions and global HFC emissions derived from atmospheric trends is almost entirely due to emissions from nonreporting countries. However, our measurement-based estimates of individual HFC species suggest that emissions, from reporting countries, of the most abundant HFC, HFC-134a, were only 79% (63-95%) of the UNFCCC inventory total, while other HFC emissions were significantly greater than the reported values. These results suggest that there are inaccuracies in the reporting methods for individual HFCs, which appear to cancel when aggregated together.

Deeds, DA, Kulongoski JT, Mühle J, Weiss RF.  2015.  Tectonic activity as a significant source of crustal tetrafluoromethane emissions to the atmosphere: Observations in groundwaters along the San Andreas Fault. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 412:163-172.   10.1016/j.epsl.2014.12.016   AbstractWebsite

Tetrafluoromethane (CF4) concentrations were measured in 14 groundwater samples from the Cuyama Valley, Mil Potrero and Cuddy Valley aquifers along the Big Bend section of the San Andreas Fault System (SAFS) in California to assess whether tectonic activity in this region is a significant source of crustal CF4 to the atmosphere. Dissolved CF4 concentrations in all groundwater samples but one were elevated with respect to estimated recharge concentrations including entrainment of excess air during recharge ( C r e ; ∼30 fmol kg−1 H2O), indicating subsurface addition of CF4 to these groundwaters. Groundwaters in the Cuyama Valley contain small CF4 excesses (0.1–9 times C r e ), which may be attributed to an in situ release from weathering and a minor addition of deep crustal CF4 introduced to the shallow groundwater through nearby faults. CF4 excesses in groundwaters within 200 m of the SAFS are larger (10–980 times C r e ) and indicate the presence of a deep crustal flux of CF4 that is likely associated with the physical alteration of silicate minerals in the shear zone of the SAFS. Extrapolating CF4 flux rates observed in this study to the full extent of the SAFS (1300 km × 20–100 km) suggests that the SAFS potentially emits ( 0.3 – 1 ) × 10 − 1 kg CF4 yr−1 to the Earth's surface. For comparison, the chemical weathering of ∼ 7.5 × 10 4 km 2 of granitic rock in California is estimated to release ( 0.019 – 3.2 ) × 10 − 1 kg CF4 yr−1. Tectonic activity is likely an important, and potentially the dominant, driver of natural emissions of CF4 to the atmosphere. Variations in preindustrial atmospheric CF4 as observed in paleo-archives such as ice cores may therefore represent changes in both continental weathering and tectonic activity, including changes driven by variations in continental ice cover during glacial–interglacial transitions.

Fraser, PJ, Dunse BL, Manning AJ, Walsh S, Wang HRJ, Krummel PB, Steele PL, Porter LW, Allison C, O’Doherty S, Simmonds PG, Mühle J, Weiss RF, Prinn RG.  2014.  Australian carbon tetrachloride emissions in a global context. Environmental Chemistry. 11:77-88.   10.1071/EN13171   AbstractWebsite

Global (1978–2012) and Australian (1996–2011) carbon tetrachloride emissions are estimated from atmospheric observations of CCl4 using data from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) global network, in particular from Cape Grim, Tasmania. Global and Australian emissions are in decline in response to Montreal Protocol restrictions on CCl4 production and consumption for dispersive uses in the developed and developing world. However, atmospheric data-derived emissions are significantly larger than ‘bottom-up’ estimates from direct and indirect CCl4 production, CCl4 transportation and use. Australian CCl4 emissions are not a result of these sources, and the identification of the origin of Australian emissions may provide a clue to the origin of some of these ‘missing’ global sources.

Rhoderick, G, Guenther F, Duewer D, Lee J, Kim JS, Hall B, Weiss R, Harth C, Reimann S, Vollmer M.  2014.  CCQM-P151 final report pilot study CCQM P151 halocarbons in dry whole air. Metrologia. 51 AbstractWebsite

The growing awareness of climate change/global warming and continuing concerns regarding stratospheric ozone depletion will require future measurements and standards for many compounds, in particular halocarbons that are linked to these issues. In order to track and control the emissions of these species globally in the atmosphere, it is necessary to demonstrate measurement equivalence at the highest levels of accuracy for assigned values of standards. This report describes the results of a pilot study between National Metrology Institutes and atmospheric research laboratories for several of the more important halocarbons at atmospheric concentration levels. The comparison includes the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC 12), trichlorofluoromethane (CFC 11), and 1,1,2- trichlorotrifluoroethane (CFC 113); the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC 22) and 1-chloro-1,1-difluoroethane (HCFC 142b); and the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) 1,1,1,2 tetrafluoroethane (HFC 134a), all in a dried whole air sample. The objective of this key comparison is to compare the measurement capabilities of the participants for these halocarbons at trace atmospheric levels.

Xiang, B, Patra PK, Montzka SA, Miller SM, Elkins JW, Moore FL, Atlas EL, Miller BR, Weiss RF, Prinn RG, Wofsy SC.  2014.  Global emissions of refrigerants HCFC-22 and HFC-134a: Unforeseen seasonal contributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111:17379-17384.   10.1073/pnas.1417372111   AbstractWebsite

HCFC-22 (CHClF2) and HFC-134a (CH2FCF3) are two major gases currently used worldwide in domestic and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning. HCFC-22 contributes to stratospheric ozone depletion, and both species are potent greenhouse gases. In this work, we study in situ observations of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a taken from research aircraft over the Pacific Ocean in a 3-y span [Hlaper-Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) 2009-2011] and combine these data with long-term ground observations from global surface sites [ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) networks]. We find the global annual emissions of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a have increased substantially over the past two decades. Emissions of HFC-134a are consistently higher compared with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) inventory since 2000, by 60% more in recent years (2009-2012). Apart from these decadal emission constraints, we also quantify recent seasonal emission patterns showing that summertime emissions of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a are two to three times higher than wintertime emissions. This unforeseen large seasonal variation indicates that unaccounted mechanisms controlling refrigerant gas emissions are missing in the existing inventory estimates. Possible mechanisms enhancing refrigerant losses in summer are (i) higher vapor pressure in the sealed compartment of the system at summer high temperatures and (ii) more frequent use and service of refrigerators and air conditioners in summer months. Our results suggest that engineering (e. g., better temperature/vibration-resistant system sealing and new system design of more compact/efficient components) and regulatory (e. g., reinforcing system service regulations) steps to improve containment of these gases from working devices could effectively reduce their release to the atmosphere.

O'Doherty, S, Rigby M, Muhle J, Ivy DJ, Miller BR, Young D, Simmonds PG, Reimann S, Vollmer MK, Krummel PB, Fraser PJ, Steele LP, Dunse B, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Arnold T, Weiss RF, Kim J, Park S, Li S, Lunder C, Hermansen O, Schmidbauer N, Zhou LX, Yao B, Wang RHJ, Manning AJ, Prinn RG.  2014.  Global emissions of HFC-143a (CH3CF3) and HFC-32 (CH2F2) from in situ and air archive atmospheric observations. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 14:9249-9258.   10.5194/acp-14-9249-2014   AbstractWebsite

High-frequency, in situ observations from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), for the period 2003 to 2012, combined with archive flask measurements dating back to 1977, have been used to capture the rapid growth of HFC-143a (CH3CF3) and HFC-32 (CH2F2) mole fractions and emissions into the atmosphere. Here we report the first in situ global measurements of these two gases. HFC-143a and HFC-32 are the third and sixth most abundant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) respectively and they currently make an appreciable contribution to the HFCs in terms of atmospheric radiative forcing (1.7 +/- 0.04 and 0.7 +/- 0.02 mW m(-2) in 2012 respectively). In 2012 the global average mole fraction of HFC-143a was 13.4 +/- 0.3 ppt (1 sigma) in the lower troposphere and its growth rate was 1.4 +/- 0.04 ppt yr(-1); HFC-32 had a global mean mole fraction of 6.2 +/- 0.2 ppt and a growth rate of 1.1 +/- 0.04 ppt yr(-1) in 2012. The extensive observations presented in this work have been combined with an atmospheric transport model to simulate global atmospheric abundances and derive global emission estimates. It is estimated that 23 +/- 3 Gg yr(-1) of HFC-143a and 21 +/- 11 Gg yr(-1) of HFC-32 were emitted globally in 2012, and the emission rates are estimated to be increasing by 7 +/- 5% yr(-1) for HFC-143a and 14 +/- 11% yr(-1) for HFC-32.

Patra, PK, Krol MC, Montzka SA, Arnold T, Atlas EL, Lintner BR, Stephens BB, Xiang B, Elkins JW, Fraser PJ, Ghosh A, Hintsa EJ, Hurst DF, Ishijima K, Krummel PB, Miller BR, Miyazaki K, Moore FL, Muhle J, O'Doherty S, Prinn RG, Steele LP, Takigawa M, Wang HJ, Weiss RF, Wofsy SC, Young D.  2014.  Observational evidence for interhemispheric hydroxyl-radical parity. Nature. 513:219-+.   10.1038/nature13721   AbstractWebsite

The hydroxyl radical (OH) is a key oxidant involved in the removal of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from the atmosphere(1-3). The ratio of Northern Hemispheric to Southern Hemispheric (NH/SH) OH concentration is important for our understanding of emission estimates of atmospheric species such as nitrogen oxides and methane(4-6). It remains poorly constrained, however, with a range of estimates from 0.85 to 1.4 (refs 4,7-10). Here we determine the NH/SH ratio of OH with the help of methyl chloroform data (a proxy for OH concentrations) and an atmospheric transport model that accurately describes interhemispheric transport and modelled emissions. We find that for the years 2004-2011 the model predicts an annual mean NH-SH gradient of methyl chloroform that is a tight linear function of the modelled NH/SH ratio in annual mean OH. We estimate a NH/SH OH ratio of 0.97 +/- 0.12 during this time period by optimizing global total emissions and mean OH abundance to fit methyl chloroform data from two surface-measurement networks and aircraft campaigns(11-13). Our findings suggest that top-down emission estimates of reactive species such as nitrogen oxides in key emitting countries in the NH that are based on a NH/SH OH ratio larger than 1 may be overestimated.

Kim, J, Fraser PJ, Li S, Muhle J, Ganesan AL, Krummel PB, Steele LP, Park S, Kim SK, Park MK, Arnold T, Harth CM, Salameh PK, Prinn RG, Weiss RF, Kim KR.  2014.  Quantifying aluminum and semiconductor industry perfluorocarbon emissions from atmospheric measurements. Geophysical Research Letters. 41:4787-4794.   10.1002/2014gl059783   AbstractWebsite

The potent anthropogenic perfluorocarbon greenhouse gases tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and hexafluoroethane (C2F6) are emitted to the atmosphere mainly by the aluminum and semiconductor industries. Global emissions of these perfluorocarbons (PFCs) calculated from atmospheric measurements are significantly greater than expected from reported national and industry-based emission inventories. In this study, in situ measurements of the two PFCs in the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment network are used to show that their emission ratio varies according to the relative regional presence of these two industries, providing an industry-specific emission "signature" to apportion the observed emissions. Our results suggest that underestimated emissions from the global semiconductor industry during 1990-2010, as well as from China's aluminum industry after 2002, account for the observed differences between emissions based on atmospheric measurements and on inventories. These differences are significant despite the large uncertainties in emissions based on the methodologies used by these industries.