The concentration of the gas rose at a rate of 4 to 6 percent per year between 1978 and 2007, to a global atmospheric abundance by the end of 2007 of about 1.5 parts per trillion, the researchers report.
These first-ever measurements of sulfuryl dioxide appear in the March 12 Journal of Geophysical Research, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
One kilogram of sulfuryl dioxide emitted into the atmosphere has a global warming potential approximately 4,800 times greater than one kilogram of carbon dioxide. However, amounts of sulfuryl fluoride released into the atmosphere (about 2,000 metric tons per year) are far lower than those of carbon dioxide (about 30 billion metric tons per year). So, the absolute effect of present sulfuryl dioxide emissions on global warming is comparably small.
Still, the newfound extended lifetime of the gas "has to be taken into account before large amounts are emitted into the atmosphere," says Jens Muehle, an atmospheric chemist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla, Calif., and leader of the study. Sulfuryl fluoride became widely used for structural fumigation after a 1987 international treaty to protect the ozone layer required gradual discontinuation of another fumigant-methyl bromide-known to have strong ozone-depleting characteristics.
"Such fumigants are very important for controlling pests in the agricultural and building sectors," says Ron Prinn of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass., and a co- author on the new paper. But with methyl bromide being phased out, "industry had to find alternatives, so sulfuryl fluoride has evolved to fill the role." Sulfuryl fluoride is regulated as a toxic substance but not currently as a greenhouse gas.
Muehle said he started detecting an unknown compound in air samples taken at the Scripps pier in early 2004 with a newly developed measurement instrument. He identified the compound as sulfuryl dioxide and concluded that the large fluctuations seen at the pier were likely related to the fumigation of local buildings. The team expanded the analysis to air samples routinely collected around the world at stations of the NASA-funded Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) network and to old air samples archived in metal cylinders.
With the help of atmospheric computer models, the research team determined that the most important removal process of sulfuryl fluoride is dissolution into the ocean, where it is decomposed by chemical reactions.
Surprisingly, actual sulfuryl fluoride emissions into the atmosphere over the period studied were about one third less than expected from global industrial production estimates provided by Dow AgroSciences, the chief manufacturer of sulfuryl fluoride in the United States.
"It's extremely important to have independent verification of emissions," says Muehle. "You can't have regulation without verification and you can't have verification without measurements."
The team's report follows closely on the announcement of a similar finding, the greater-than- expected prevalence of nitrogen trifluoride-a gas used as a cleaning agent during the manufacture of thin-film solar cells, flat panel monitors and other electronics. The first measurements of nitrogen trifluoride, reported in October [http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/2008-35.html], have led to calls for it to be included in the list of greenhouse gases whose emissions are regulated by international treaties. Similarly discussions are underway regarding sulfuryl fluoride.
Further reports about: > Methyl bromide > Sulfuryl fluoride > agricultural and building sectors > atmosphere > carbon dioxide > chemical reaction > computer model > fumigant-methyl bromide-known > global warming > greenhouse gas > nitrogen trifluoride-a gas > ozone-depleting > sulfuryl dioxide > sulfuryl dioxide emissions > termite
Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology