Atmospheric readings show someone is producing illegal, ozone-depleting industrial gases

Atmospheric readings show someone is producing illegal, ozone-depleting industrial gases

The NOAA said in a statement that the source of it is most likely from "new, unreported production from an unidentified source in East Asia".

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were banned from production and use across the globe in 1987 after they were found to directly impact the protective ozone layer making a large "ozone hole". CFC-11, used as a refrigerant, is considered the second most damaging of the chemicals phased out under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, The US stopped making it in 1996 and worldwide production had reached nearly zero by 2007.

CFC-11 still contributes about a quarter of all chlorine - the chemical that triggers the breakdown of ozone - reaching the stratosphere. The CFC-11 was used previously as a solvent, refrigerant, and as a propellant for Styrofoam production and for aerosol spray cans. The toxic CFC-11 is completely banned across the globe. The CFC-11 chemical dropped steadily in the atmosphere by near about 2.1 parts-per-trillion per year in between the year 2002 and the year 2012. "Further work is needed to figure out exactly why emissions of CFC11 are increasing, and if something can be done about it soon".

Emissions of a banned, ozone-eating chemical are rising, a group of scientists reported Wednesday, suggesting someone may be secretly manufacturing the pollutant in violation of an global accord.

The situation got even worse in the years after 2012 when the rate of CFC decline slowed by 50 percent, which could have only been possible due to an increase in CFC emissions. A United States observatory situated in Hawaii discovered the chemical mixed with the other gases to be getting injected into the atmosphere from some region located in the eastern Asia. CFC concentration in the atmosphere has declined by 15 percent from its peak in 1993, but over the past few years, the rate of decline has slowed down.

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The damage caused to the ozone layer is especially alarming since the global production of the chemical causing it is supposed to be at or near zero.

Montzka said the new analysis can't definitively explain why emissions of CFC-11 are increasing, but in the paper, the team discusses potential reasons why.

According to the report, published in Nature and led by Stephen Montzka of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the amount of CFC-11 had gradually been declining over time as countries stopped producing it and what remained in the atmosphere faded out, but its rate of decline sharply decreased over the past year.

Scientists have carefully monitored the progress and measured chemical compound of the planet's atmosphere.

That has led scientists to predict that by mid- to late-century, the abundance of ozone-depleting gases would to fall to levels last seen before the Antarctic ozone hole began to appear in the early 1980s. "A delay in ozone recovery [.] is anticipated, with an overall importance depending on the trajectory of CFC-11 emissions and concentrations in the future".

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