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Elvidge, EL, Bonisch H, Brenninkmeijer CAM, Engel A, Fraser PJ, Gallacher E, Langenfelds R, Muhle J, Oram DE, Ray EA, Ridley AR, Rockmann 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 factors and ozone depletion potentials. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18:3369-3385.   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 and C3F8 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 results showed 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 University of 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 mean ages 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.

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).