High frequency measurements show change in HCFCs and their HFC replacements

HFCs have been introduced to replace environmentally-damaging HCFCs which can both destroy the Earth’s protective ozone layer and are potent greenhouse gases. Recent adjustments to the Montreal Protocol require an accelerated phase- out of emissive uses of HCFCs, with a cap on global production and consumption in 2013.

From 10-20 year high frequency (6-12 per day) atmospheric measurements of both HCFCs and HFCs we show that there has been a moderate reduction in the global emissions of the four principal HCFCs (-22, -141b, -152b and -124). We note that in 2015 HCFC-22 represents about 79% of the total amount of HCFCs in the atmosphere which we attribute to an increase in production and consumption in developing countries and the continuing release from the large banks which dominate HCFC global emissions. We also find that emissions of the HFC replacements have grown more rapidly that model projections from 2010-2015 resulting in an additional increase in their contribution to global warming.

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Changing trends and emissions of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and their hydrofluorcarbon (HFCs) replacements. Simmonds, P.G., M. Rigby, A. McCulloch, S. O'Doherty, D. Young, J. Mühle, P.B. Krummel, P. Steele, P.J. Fraser, A.J. Manning, R.F. Weiss, P.K. Salameh, C.M. Harth, R.H.J. Wang, and R. Prinn (2017), Atmos. Chem. Phys. 17, 4641-4655, doi:10.5194/acp-17-4641-2017.