Reduced Antarctic Ozone Depletions in a Model with Hydrocarbon Injections

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Science  22 Nov 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5035, pp. 1191-1194
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5035.1191


Motivated by increased losses of Antarctic stratospheric ozone and by improved understanding of the mechanism, a concept is suggested for action to arrest this ozone loss: injecting the alkanes ethane or propane (E or P) into the Antarctic stratosphere. A numerical model of chemical processes was used to explore the concept. The model results suggest that annual injections of about 50,000 tons of E or P could suppress ozone loss, but there are some scenarios where smaller E or P injections could increase ozone depletion. Further, key uncertainties must be resolved, induding initial concentrations of nitrogen-oxide species in austral spring, and several poorly defined physical and chemical processes must be quantifed. There would also be major difficulties in delivering and distributing the needed alkanes.