Atmospheric Trace Gases in Antarctica

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Science  16 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4479, pp. 285-287
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4479.285


Trace gases have been measured, by electron-capture gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques, at the South Pole (SP) in Antarctica and in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (PNW) (∼ 45°N) during January of each year from 1975 to 1980. These measurements show that the concentrations of CCl3F, CCl2F2, and CH3CCl3 have increased exponentially at substantial rates. The concentration of CCl3F increased at 12 percent per year at the SP and at 8 percent per year in the PNW; CCl2F2 increased at about 9 percent per year at both locations, and CH3CCl3 increased at 17 percent per year at the SP and 11.6 percent per year at the PNW site. There is some evidence that CCl4 (∼ 3 percent per year) and N2O (0.1 to 0.5 percent per year) may also have increased. Concentrations of nine other trace gases of importance in atmospheric chemistry are also being measured at these two locations. Results of the measurements of CHClF2(F-22), C2Cl3F3(F-113), SF6, C2-hydrocarbons, and CH3Cl are reported here.