A new compound was discovered in the atmosphere, octafluorooxolane (c-C4F8O). It was detected in ambient and archived air samples by analysis using AGAGE-type Medusa-GCMS measurements. Based on these measurements and using a 12-box model, emissions of this gas to the atmosphere are calculated. Also, laboratory studies were carried out, from which it was determined, that c-C4F8O is a very powerful greenhouse gas (GWP-100 is 12’000) thereby contributing to global warming, and that it has a very long atmospheric lifetime of more than 3500 years. Based on our measurements we could reconstruct the atmospheric evolution of this compound over more than 4 decades. The abundances have increased since the 1980s and have reached about 75 ppq (parts-per-quadrilion, femtomole per mole, in dry air). These are rather small concentrations. Using these observations, we could estimate the global emissions of c-C4F8O. These increased to about 0.15 kt/yr in 2004 but have strongly declined since. Despite these declining emissions, the compound is of concern, because it will remain in the atmosphere for a very long time due to its long lifetime.
Abundances, emissions, and loss processes of the long-lived and potent greenhouse gas octafluorooxolane (octafluorotetrahydrofuran, c-C4F8O) in the atmosphere. Vollmer, M.K., Bernard, F., Mitrevski, B., Steele, L.P., Trudinger, C.M., Reimann, S., Langenfelds, R.L., Krummel, P.B., Fraser, P.J., Etheridge, D.M., Curran, M.A.J., and Burkholder, J.B. (2019), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 3481-3492, doi:10.5194/acp-19-3481-2019.