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

Martin K. Vollmer, Matt Rigby, Johannes C. Laube, Stephan Henne, Tae Siek Rhee, Lauren J. Gooch, Angelina Wenger, Dickon 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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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 <0.1 kt yr-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
StatePublished - 28 Oct 2015


  • HCFC
  • Montreal Protocol
  • emissions


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