Scientists suggest someone is secretly making banned ozone-depleting chemical

18 May, 2018, 03:29 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Aerosol

This treaty saw the production of CFCs, including CFC-11, banned in developed countries in the mid 1990s and in the rest of the world by 2010. "So long as scientists remain vigilant, new production or emission of ozone depleting chemicals will not go unnoticed", said the statement.

The scientists yet have not found out as to who the person is and where the person could be.

The team said the emissions were most likely due to new, unreported production from an unidentified source in East Asia. That's why National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration researchers were surprised to discover it's increased in the atmosphere by 25 percent since 2012.

In this false-colour image, the ozone hole of 2013 is shown in blue. Though concentrations of CFC11 in the atmosphere are still declining, they're declining more slowly than they would if there were no new sources, Montzka said.

The regulations were initially reflected by the data, with the amounts detected in the atmosphere sinking at a constant rate between 2002 and 2012. But these don't fully explain the sharp increase seen in recent years, which amounts to about 13 billion grams annually over the past several years. Together, this analysis suggested the emissions are coming from east Asia. But someone is cheating on that global agreement, The Washington Post reports.

While it might possible that the chemicals came from the demolition of old buildings, unintentional release, or even accidental production, research evidence points to the contrary. It is destroyed only in the stratosphere, some nine to 18 miles (14.5 km to 29 km) above the planet's surface, where the resulting chlorine molecules engage in a string of ozone-destroying chemical reactions. 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".

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects animal and plant life on Earth from powerful UV rays.

Banned Ozone-Harming Gas Creeps Back, Suggesting a Mystery Source
Mysterious rise in CFC11 emissions

NOAA's findings are "environmentally and politically quite serious", former NASA scientist Robert Watson told the Post, stressing that worldwide leaders who have signed on to the Montreal Protocol must address the study's revelation.

Availability of alternatives to CFC-11 makes it hard to understand why there is still a market for the chemical. The gas could delay recovery of the ozone layer for decades.

The United Nations (UN) were quick to react to the disturbing news.

"If these emissions continue unabated, they have the potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer, it is therefore, critical that we take stock of this science, identify the causes of these emissions and take necessary action", said the statement.

The production of CFC-11 amounts to a violation of global law, but perhaps more importantly it represents a blow to the decades-long work scientists have been conducting to preserve the ozone layer, which shields us from the sun's ultraviolet radiation.

But Zaelke thought the finding could promote tougher action.

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