European emissions of HCFC-22 based on eleven years of high frequency atmospheric measurements and a Bayesian inversion method

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Atmospheric Environment, Volume 112, p.196 - 207 (2015)





emission estimates, High frequency observations, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), Inverse modelling, Montreal protocol, Stratospheric ozone protection


HCFC-22 (CHClF2), a stratospheric ozone depleting substance and a powerful greenhouse gas, is the third most abundant anthropogenic halocarbon in the atmosphere. Primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, its global production and consumption have increased during the last 60 years, with the global increases in the last decade mainly attributable to developing countries. In 2007, an adjustment to the Montreal Protocol for Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer called for an accelerated phase out of HCFCs, implying a 75% reduction (base year 1989) of HCFC production and consumption by 2010 in developed countries against the previous 65% reduction. In Europe HCFC-22 is continuously monitored at the two sites Mace Head (Ireland) and Monte Cimone (Italy). Combining atmospheric observations with a Bayesian inversion technique, we estimated fluxes of HCFC-22 from Europe and from eight macro-areas within it, over an 11-year period from January 2002 to December 2012, during which the accelerated restrictions on HCFCs production and consumption have entered into force. According to our study, the maximum emissions over the entire domain was in 2003 (38.2 ± 4.7 Gg yr−1), and the minimum in 2012 (12.1 ± 2.0 Gg yr−1); emissions continuously decreased between these years, except for secondary maxima in the 2008 and 2010. Despite such a decrease in regional emissions, background values of HCFC-22 measured at the two European stations over 2002–2012 are still increasing as a consequence of global emissions, in part from developing countries, with an average trend of ca 7.0 ppt yr−1. However, the observations at the two European stations show also that since 2008 a decrease in the global growth rate has occurred. In general, our European emission estimates are in good agreement with those reported by previous studies that used different techniques. Since the currently dominant emission source of HCFC-22 is from banks, we assess the banks' size and their contribution to the total European emissions up to 2030, and we project a fast decrease approaching negligible emissions in the last five years of the considered period. Finally, inversions conducted over three month periods showed evidence for a seasonal cycle in emissions in regions in the Mediterranean basin but not outside it. Emissions derived from regions in the Mediterranean basin were ca. 25% higher in warmer months than in colder months.