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Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 27;8:15962. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15962.

The increasing threat to stratospheric ozone from dichloromethane.

Author information

1
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK.
2
School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
3
National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
4
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA.
5
Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK.
6
National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK.

Abstract

It is well established that anthropogenic chlorine-containing chemicals contribute to ozone layer depletion. The successful implementation of the Montreal Protocol has led to reductions in the atmospheric concentration of many ozone-depleting gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons. As a consequence, stratospheric chlorine levels are declining and ozone is projected to return to levels observed pre-1980 later this century. However, recent observations show the atmospheric concentration of dichloromethane-an ozone-depleting gas not controlled by the Montreal Protocol-is increasing rapidly. Using atmospheric model simulations, we show that although currently modest, the impact of dichloromethane on ozone has increased markedly in recent years and if these increases continue into the future, the return of Antarctic ozone to pre-1980 levels could be substantially delayed. Sustained growth in dichloromethane would therefore offset some of the gains achieved by the Montreal Protocol, further delaying recovery of Earth's ozone layer.

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