Abrupt reversal in emissions and atmospheric abundance of HCFC-133a (CF3CH2Cl)

Martin K. Vollmer*, Matthew Rigby, Johannes C. Laube, Stephan Henne, Tae Siek Rhee, Lauren J. Gooch, Angelina Wenger, T D S Young, L. Paul Steele, Ray L. Langenfelds, Carl A. M. Brenninkmeijer, Jia-Lin Wang, Chang-Feng Ou-Yang, Simon A. Wyss, Matthias Hill, David E. Oram, Paul B. Krummel, Fabian Schoenenberger, Christoph Zellweger, Paul J. FraserWilliam T. Sturges, Simon O’Doherty, Stefan Reimann

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Hydrochlorofluorocarbon HCFC-133a (CF3CH2Cl) is an anthropogenic compound whose consumption for emissive use is restricted under the Montreal Protocol. A recent study showed rapidly increasing atmospheric abundances and emissions. We report that, following this rise, the atmospheric abundance and emissions have declined sharply in the past three years. We find a Northern Hemisphere HCFC-133a increase from 0.13 ppt (dry-air mole fraction in parts per trillion) in 2000 to 0.50 ppt in 2012-mid-2013 followed by an abrupt drop to ∼0.44 ppt by early 2015. Global emissions derived from these observations peaked at 3.1 kt in 2011, followed by a rapid decline of ∼0.5 kt yr-2 to reach 1.5 kt yr-1 in 2014. Sporadic HCFC-133a pollution events are detected in Europe from our high-resolution HCFC-133a records at three European stations, and in Asia from samples collected in Taiwan. European emissions are estimated to be -1 although emission hot spots were identified in France. Key Points Atmospheric abundances of HCFC-133a and emissions have suddenly reversed in the last three years The sources of HCFC-133a to the atmosphere are likely from the production of HFC-134a In Europe, the emissions of HCFC-133a are less than 0.1 kt/yr while globally about 1.5 kt/yr

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8702-8710
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Early online date23 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2015


  • Montreal Protocol
  • HCFC
  • emissions


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