Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-261
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-261

  13 Apr 2021

13 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Evidence of a recent decline in UK emissions of HFCs determined by the InTEM inverse model and atmospheric measurements

Alistair J. Manning1,, Alison L. Redington1,, Daniel Say2, Simon O'Doherty2, Dickon Young2, Peter G. Simmonds2, Martin K. Vollmer3, Jens Mühle4, Jgor Arduini5, Gerry Spain6, Adam Wisher2, Michela Maione5, Tanja J. Schuck7, Kieran Stanley7, Stefan Reimann3, Andreas Engel7, Paul B. Krummel8, Paul J. Fraser8, Christina M. Harth4, Peter K. Salameh4, Ray F. Weiss4, Ray Gluckman9, Peter N. Brown10, John D. Watterson10, and Tim Arnold11,12 Alistair J. Manning et al.
  • 1Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK
  • 2School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 3Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 4Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA
  • 5Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Urbino, Urbino, Italy
  • 6School of Physics, NUI Galway, Galway, Ireland
  • 7Goethe University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 8Climate Science Centre, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Australia
  • 9Gluckman Consulting, Cobham, UK
  • 10Ricardo Energy & Environment, Gemini Building, Fermi Ave, Harwell, UK
  • 11National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, UK
  • 12School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (GHGI) are submitted annually to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They are estimated in compliance with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodological guidance using activity data, emission factors and facility-level measurements. For some sources, the outputs from these calculations are very uncertain. Inverse modelling techniques that use high-quality, long-term measurements of atmospheric gases have been developed to provide independent verification of national GHGI. This is considered good practice by the IPCC as it helps national inventory compilers to verify reported emissions and to reduce emission uncertainty. Emission estimates from the InTEM (Inversion Technique for Emissions Modelling) model are presented for the UK for the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) reported to the UNFCCC (HFC-125, HFC-134a, HFC-143a, HFC-152a, HFC-23, HFC-32, HFC-227ea, HFC-245fa, HFC-43-10mee and HFC-365mfc). These HFCs have high Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) and the global background mole fractions of all but two are increasing, thus highlighting their relevance to the climate and a need for increasing the accuracy of emission estimation for regulatory purposes. This study presents evidence that the long-term annual increase in growth of HFC-134a has stopped and is now decreasing. For HFC-32 there is an early indication its rapid global growth period has ended, and there is evidence that the annual increase in global growth for HFC-125 has slowed from 2018. The inverse modelling results indicate that the UK implementation of European Union regulation of HFC emissions has been successful in initiating a decline in UK emissions in the since 2018. Comparison of the total InTEM UK HFC emissions in 2020 with the average from 2009–2012 shows a drop of 35 %, indicating progress toward the target of a 79 % decrease in sales by 2030. The total InTEM HFC emission estimates (2008–2018) are on average 73 (62–83) % of, or 4.3 (2.7–5.9) Tg CO2-eq yr−1 lower than, the total HFC emission estimates from the UK GHGI inventory. There are also significant discrepancies between the two estimates for the individual HFCs.

Alistair J. Manning et al.

Status: open (until 08 Jun 2021)

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Alistair J. Manning et al.

Alistair J. Manning et al.

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Short summary
This paper estimates UK emissions of important greenhouse gases (hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)) using high-quality atmospheric observations and atmospheric modelling. We compare these estimates with those submitted by the UK to the United Nations. We conclude that global concentrations of these gases are still increasing. Our estimates for the UK are 73 % of those reported and that the UK emissions are now falling, demonstrating an impact of UK government policy.
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