Decline in the Tropospheric Abundance of Halogen from Halocarbons: Implications for Stratospheric Ozone Depletion

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Science  31 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5266, pp. 1318-1322
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5266.1318


Analyses of air sampled from remote locations across the globe reveal that tropospheric chlorine attributable to anthropogenic halocarbons peaked near the beginning of 1994 and was decreasing at a rate of 25 ± 5 parts per trillion per year by mid-1995. Although bromine from halons was still increasing in mid-1995, the summed abundance of these halogens in the troposphere is decreasing. To assess the effect of this trend on stratospheric ozone, estimates of the future stratospheric abundance of ozone-depleting gases were made for mid-latitude and polar regions on the basis of these tropospheric measurements. These results suggest that the amount of reactive chlorine and bromine will reach a maximum in the stratosphere between 1997 and 1999 and will decline thereafter if limits outlined in the adjusted and amended Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer are not exceeded in future years.