Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2003 Oct 1;37(19):4358-61.

Atmospheric perfluorocarbons.

Author information

Department of Physics, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, Oregon 97207, USA.


Collectively, man-made emissions of a few greenhouse gases may cause about the same amount of global warming as increasing carbon dioxide. Among the most potent of these non-CO2 greenhouse gases are the perfluorocarbons that have extraordinarily long atmospheric lifetimes of 10,000 to more than 50,000 yr. We report atmospheric concentrations over two decades, between 1978 and 1997, of the three most abundant perfluorocarbons--CF4, C2F6, and C3F8--and delineate the sources that account for the present abundances and trends. We show that C2F6 and C3F8 are present at only 2.9 and 0.2 pptv, respectively. CF4 is the most abundant perfluorocarbon at 74 pptv (in 1997) of which about 40 pptv are from natural emissions, 33 pptv from aluminum manufacturing, and 1 pptv from the semiconductor industry. The increasing trend of CF4 has slowed in recent years due to the major reductions in the emission rate per ton of aluminum produced. The effect of the falling emission factor is partially offset by increased production and increasing use by the semiconductor industry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center