A rise in HFC-23 emissions from eastern Asia since 2015

Hyeri Park, Jooil Kim, Haklim Choi, Sohyeon Geum, Yeaseul Kim, Rona l. Thompson, Jens Mühle, Peter k. Salameh, Christina m. Harth, Kieran m. Stanley, Simon O'doherty, Paul j. Fraser, Peter g. Simmonds, Paul b. Krummel, Ray f. Weiss, Ronald g. Prinn, Sunyoung Park*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Trifluoromethane (CHF3, HFC-23), one of the most potent greenhouse gases among hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), is mainly emitted to the atmosphere as a by-product in the production of the ozone-depleting legacy refrigerant and chemical feedstock chlorodifluoromethane (CHClF2, HCFC-22). A recent study on atmospheric observation-based global HFC-23 emissions (top-down estimates) showed significant discrepancies over 2014–2017 between the increase in the observation-derived emissions and the 87 % emission reduction expected from capture and destruction processes of HFC-23 at HCFC-22 production facilities implemented by national phase-out plans (bottom-up emission estimates) (Stanley et al., 2020). However, the actual regions responsible for the increased emissions were not identified. Here, we estimate the regional top-down emissions of HFC-23 for eastern Asia based on in situ measurements at Gosan, South Korea, and show that the HFC-23 emissions from eastern China have increased from 5.0±0.4 Gg yr−1 in 2008 to 9.5±1.0 Gg yr−1 in 2019. The continuous rise since 2015 was contrary to the large emissions reduction reported under the Chinese hydrochlorofluorocarbons production phase-out management plan (HPPMP). The cumulative difference between top-down and bottom-up estimates for 2015–2019 in eastern China was  ~23.7 ±3.6 Gg, which accounts for 47±11 % of the global mismatch. Our analysis based on HCFC-22 production information suggests the HFC-23 emissions rise in eastern China is more likely associated with known HCFC-22 production facilities rather than the existence of unreported, unknown HCFC-22 production, and thus observed discrepancies between top-down and bottom-up emissions could be attributed to unsuccessful factory-level HFC-23 abatement and inaccurate quantification of emission reductions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9401-9411
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (grant no. 2020R1A2C3003774); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (grant nos. NNX16AC98G, NNX16AC96G, and NNX16AC97G); and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK Government (grant no. 1537/06/2018).

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (no. 2020R1A2C3003774). The NASA Upper Atmosphere Research Program supports AGAGE (including partial support of Mace Head and Cape Grim) through grant NNX16AC98G to MIT, and grants NNX16AC96G and NNX16AC97G to SIO and multiple preceding grants. Mace Head station is supported by the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS contract 1537/06/2018). Cape Grim station is primarily supported by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, with additional support from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) and Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA).

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