PerspectiveATMOSPHERE

Concerns for ozone recovery

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Science  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6368, pp. 1257-1258
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0145

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Summary

Reactive halogen gases containing chlorine (Cl) or bromine (Br) can destroy stratospheric ozone via catalytic cycles. The main sources of atmospheric reactive halogen are the long-lived synthetic chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), methyl chloroform (CH3CCl3), and bromine-containing halons, all of which persist in the atmosphere for years. These ozone-depleting substances are now controlled under the Montreal Protocol and its amendments. Natural methyl bromide (CH3Br) and methyl chloride (CH3Cl) emissions are also important long-lived sources of atmospheric reactive halogen. Rising concentrations of very-short-lived substances (VSLSs) with atmospheric lifetimes of less than half a year may also contribute to future stratospheric ozone depletion. A greater concern for ozone layer recovery is incomplete compliance with the Montreal Protocol, which will impact stratospheric ozone for many decades, as well as rising natural emissions as a result of climate change.