Joint inference of CFC lifetimes and banks suggests previously unidentified emissions: Nature Communications

Megan Lickley*, Sarah Fletcher, Matthew L Rigby, Susan Solomon

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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Abstract Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are harmful ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gases. CFC production was phased-out under the Montreal Protocol, however recent studies suggest new and unexpected emissions of CFC-11. Quantifying CFC emissions requires accurate estimates of both atmospheric lifetimes and ongoing emissions from old equipment (i.e. ‘banks’). In a Bayesian framework we simultaneously infer lifetimes, banks and emissions of CFC-11, 12 and 113 using available constraints. We find lifetimes of all three gases are likely shorter than currently recommended values, suggesting that best estimates of inferred emissions are larger than recent evaluations. Our analysis indicates that bank emissions are decreasing faster than total emissions, and we estimate new, unexpected emissions during 2014-2016 were 23.2, 18.3, and 7.8 Gg/yr for CFC-11, 12 and 113, respectively. While recent studies have focused on unexpected CFC-11 emissions, our results call for further investigation of potential sources of emissions of CFC-12 and CFC-113, along with CFC-11.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2920
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.L. and S.S. acknowledge the support of VoLo foundation. M.L. acknowledges support from the Martin fellowship and S.S. acknowledges support from the Martin chair.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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