Observation-based assessment of stratospheric fractional release, lifetimes, and ozone depletion potentials of ten important source gases
Abstract. Estimates of the recovery time of stratospheric ozone heavily rely on the exact knowledge of the processes that lead to the decomposition of the relevant halogenated source gases. Crucial parameters in this context are fractional release factors (FRFs) as well as stratospheric lifetimes and ozone depletion potentials (ODPs). We here present data from the analysis of air samples collected between 2009 and 2011 on board research aircraft flying in the mid- and high-latitude stratosphere and infer the above-mentioned parameters for ten major source gases: CFCl3 (CFC-11), CF2Cl2 (CFC-12), CF2ClCFCl2 (CFC-113), CCl4 (carbon tetrachloride), CH3CCl3 (methyl chloroform), CHF2Cl (HCFC-22), CH3CFCl2 (HCFC-141b), CH3CF2Cl (HCFC-142b), CF2ClBr (H-1211), and CF3Br (H-1301). The inferred correlations of their FRFs with mean ages of air reveal less decomposition as compared to previous studies for most compounds. When using the calculated set of FRFs to infer equivalent stratospheric chlorine, we find a reduction of more than 20% as compared to the values inferred in the most recent Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO, 2011). We also note that FRFs and their correlations with mean age are not generally time-independent as often assumed. The stratospheric lifetimes were calculated relative to that of CFC-11. Within our uncertainties the ratios between stratospheric lifetimes inferred here agree with the values in recent WMO reports except for CFC-11, CFC-12 and CH3CCl3. Finally, we calculate lower ODPs than recommended by WMO for six out of ten compounds, with changes most pronounced for the three HCFCs. Collectively these newly calculated values may have important implications for the severity and recovery time of stratospheric ozone loss.