Publications

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2018
Simmonds, PG, Rigby M, McCulloch A, Vollmer MK, Henne S, Muhle J, O'Doherty S, Manning AJ, Krummel PB, Fraser PJ, Young D, Weiss RF, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Reimann S, Trudinger CM, Steele LP, 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.   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 MtCO(2) 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 20102016 were 89 +/- 2 Gg (1.1 +/- 0.2 GtCO(2) eq.), which led to an increase in radiative forcing of 1.0 +/- 0.1mWm(-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 similar to 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.

2017
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).

2014
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.

2010
Miller, BR, Rigby M, Kuijpers LJM, Krummel PB, Steele LP, Leist M, Fraser PJ, McCulloch A, Harth C, Salameh P, Muhle J, Weiss RF, Prinn RG, Wang RHJ, O'Doherty S, Greally BR, Simmonds PG.  2010.  HFC-23 (CHF3) emission trend response to HCFC-22 (CHClF2) production and recent HFC-23 emission abatement measures. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 10:7875-7890.   10.5194/acp-10-7875-2010   AbstractWebsite

HFC-23 (also known as CHF(3), fluoroform or trifluoromethane) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), with a global warming potential (GWP) of 14 800 for a 100-year time horizon. It is an unavoidable by-product of HCFC-22 (CHClF(2), chlorodifluoromethane) production. HCFC-22, an ozone depleting substance (ODS), is used extensively in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning, in the extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam industries (dispersive applications) and also as a feedstock in fluoropolymer manufacture (a non-dispersive use). Aside from small markets in specialty uses, HFC-23 has historically been considered a waste gas that was, and often still is, simply vented to the atmosphere. Efforts have been made in the past two decades to reduce HFC-23 emissions, including destruction (incineration) in facilities in developing countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and by process optimization and/or voluntary incineration by most producers in developed countries. We present observations of lower-tropospheric mole fractions of HFC-23 measured by 'Medusa' GC/MSD instruments from ambient air sampled in situ at the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) network of five remote sites (2007-2009) and in Cape Grim air archive (CGAA) samples (1978-2009) from Tasmania, Australia. These observations are used with the AGAGE 2-D atmospheric 12-box model and an inverse method to produce model mole fractions and a 'top-down' HFC-23 emission history. The model 2009 annual mean global lower-tropospheric background abundance is 22.6 (+/- 0.2) pmol mol(-1). The derived HFC-23 emissions show a 'plateau' during 1997-2003, followed by a rapid similar to 50% increase to a peak of 15.0 (+1.3/-1.2) Gg/yr in 2006. Following this peak, emissions of HFC-23 declined rapidly to 8.6 (+0.9/-1.0) Gg/yr in 2009, the lowest annual emission of the past 15 years. We derive a 1990-2008 'bottom-up' HFC-23 emission history using data from the United Nations Environment Programme and the UNFCCC. Comparison with the top-down HFC-23 emission history shows agreement within the stated uncertainties. In the 1990s, HFC-23 emissions from developed countries dominated all other sources, then began to decline and eventually became fairly constant during 2003-2008. By this point, with developed countries' emissions essentially at a plateau, the major factor controlling the annual dynamics of global HFC-23 emissions became the historical rise of developing countries' HCFC-22 dispersive use production, which peaked in 2007. Thereafter in 2007-2009, incineration through CDM projects became a larger factor, reducing global HFC-23 emissions despite rapidly rising HCFC-22 feedstock production in developing countries.