New Greenhouse Gases

Kyoto Protocol
Image via Wikipedia

An international research team led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California, and the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, suggests we should start worrying about nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2).

Both gases are used in industrial processes, as alternatives to ozone-depleting gases, but there are concerns about their effect on global warming.

NF3 replaced perfluorocarbons in some electronics industry processes, specifically in the production of LCD displays and TVs. SO2F2 replaced methyl bromide, in structural fumigation applications.

New results are published this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research and presented at the GREENHOUSE 2009 conference.

“Information about the abundance of these gases in the atmosphere, their growth rates, lifetimes, and emissions is just emerging,” says CSIRO’s Paul Fraser.

“Currently the level of these gases in the atmosphere is low, but their concentration is growing. In addition, these gases have significant global-warming potential.”

“This research is likely to affect the revision of the Kyoto Protocol later this year,” Fraser adds. “New emissions targets for the existing basket of gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, PFCs, hydrofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride) are likely, as well as inclusion of the new greenhouse gases.”