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Thread: Mysterious new gases

  1. #1 Mysterious new gases 
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    This is interesting.......

    BBC News - Mysterious new man-made gases pose threat to ozone layer


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    agreed, it is interesting


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    That's the UEA group I used to work for! (In fact last time I visited there Johannes Laube was in my old office!). It's good to see they're keeping up the good work
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    That's the UEA group I used to work for! (In fact last time I visited there Johannes Laube was in my old office!). It's good to see they're keeping up the good work
    ph demon - are you a climatologist? I might want to pick your brains on the subject, if I may?
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    No, not a climatologist, I'm a physical chemist that has spent time looking at reactions and processes that occur in the atmosphere (often at the molecular or single particle scale) and taking fieldwork measurements (that's what I did at UEA, my role in the group was as an instrument scientist on board research aircraft). My understanding of meteorology and whole areas of climate science leave a lot to be desired (Adelady and Lynx Fox have a much better understanding than I do)-- I leave that to the modellers I'm most definitely an experimental scientist!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    No, not a climatologist, I'm a physical chemist that has spent time looking at reactions and processes that occur in the atmosphere (often at the molecular or single particle scale) and taking fieldwork measurements (that's what I did at UEA, my role in the group was as an instrument scientist on board research aircraft). My understanding of meteorology and whole areas of climate science leave a lot to be desired (Adelady and Lynx Fox have a much better understanding than I do)-- I leave that to the modellers I'm most definitely an experimental scientist!
    Thanks, PHdemon

    It's useful to know where peoples special strong points lie.

    Adelady and Lynn Fox will be noted for my future reference, so, will your good self when it comes to your specialist subject.
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    If you want details of what I've worked on the home page on my profile has a publication list.
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    One year ago....

    Ozone Hole Shrinks to Record Low 2013


    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...62578216,d.eW0
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    Good to know. This is one feature of the climate we'd very much like to see move along more rapidly than the projections.

    And I also noticed that the quantities of those gases were - sort of - encouraging. 74000 tons instead of the millions of tons of CFCs we've managed to release before this. Just as long as these new kids on the block also start to decrease fairly promptly.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    It's quite unnerving to think that what little we have done to try and help has really little effect but then we have to look at other countries who are quite content on pumping out lots of crap into the atmosphere and think to ourselves, what's the point in us caring or trying to reduce a problem whilst they don't care.


    Will we ever get to see true effects of our efforts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    It's quite unnerving to think that what little we have done to try and help has really little effect but then we have to look at other countries who are quite content on pumping out lots of crap into the atmosphere and think to ourselves, what's the point in us caring or trying to reduce a problem whilst they don't care.


    Will we ever get to see true effects of our efforts?
    I think you are too pessimistic. The Montreal Protocol has had quite an influence on the degradation of the ozone layer, or so I read. As always, the key to success is providing alternatives that do not pose a large economic penalty. In the case of CFC refrigerants/aerosol propellants, this has proved possible.

    With CO2 from fossil fuel burning, i.e. the climate change issue rather than the ozone issue, it's far harder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    It's quite unnerving to think that what little we have done to try and help has really little effect but then we have to look at other countries who are quite content on pumping out lots of crap into the atmosphere and think to ourselves, what's the point in us caring or trying to reduce a problem whilst they don't care.


    Will we ever get to see true effects of our efforts?
    We see the effects of our efforts every day. Things would be much worse if we didn't enact environmental protections. Granted, we still have a ways to go, but we no longer use DDT in most places, we control CFCs, we don't use leaded gas. Our what-ifs are usually in regards to how much better things could be, but take some time to think about how much worse they could be if we had not taken efforts to curb our pollution.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    It's quite unnerving to think that what little we have done to try and help has really little effect but then we have to look at other countries who are quite content on pumping out lots of crap into the atmosphere and think to ourselves, what's the point in us caring or trying to reduce a problem whilst they don't care.


    Will we ever get to see true effects of our efforts?


    I think you are too pessimistic. The Montreal Protocol has had quite an influence on the degradation of the ozone layer, or so I read. As always, the key to success is providing alternatives that do not pose a large economic penalty. In the case of CFC refrigerants/aerosol propellants, this has proved possible.

    With CO2 from fossil fuel burning, i.e. the climate change issue rather than the ozone issue, it's far harder.
    I'm not usually pessimistic but I read reports that the ozone is repairing itself and I know we are doing what we can to help but also there are articles that talk of other dangers like the magnetic shields and natural cycles for sunflares and hotspots and then, we have the conflicted opinions and presentations from various scientists.

    I don't think co2 can be blamed entirely for whats happening...can it?
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    It's quite unnerving to think that what little we have done to try and help has really little effect but then we have to look at other countries who are quite content on pumping out lots of crap into the atmosphere and think to ourselves, what's the point in us caring or trying to reduce a problem whilst they don't care.


    Will we ever get to see true effects of our efforts?


    I think you are too pessimistic. The Montreal Protocol has had quite an influence on the degradation of the ozone layer, or so I read. As always, the key to success is providing alternatives that do not pose a large economic penalty. In the case of CFC refrigerants/aerosol propellants, this has proved possible.

    With CO2 from fossil fuel burning, i.e. the climate change issue rather than the ozone issue, it's far harder.
    I'm not usually pessimistic but I read reports that the ozone is repairing itself and I know we are doing what we can to help but also there are articles that talk of other dangers like the magnetic shields and natural cycles for sunflares and hotspots and then, we have the conflicted opinions and presentations from various scientists.

    I don't think co2 can be blamed entirely for whats happening...can it?
    What dangers do you have in mind concerning magnetic shielding and solar flares? Something to do with magnetic pole reversal, or something else?

    CO2 is the climate change issue, so indeed quite different from either that or the ozone hole.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    we have the conflicted opinions and presentations from various scientists.
    There isn't as much conflict among scientists regarding climate change as the "news" would like you to believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    I don't think co2 can be blamed entirely for whats happening...can it?
    No. There are many factors involved in climate change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    we have the conflicted opinions and presentations from various scientists.
    There isn't as much conflict among scientists regarding climate change as the "news" would like you to believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    I don't think co2 can be blamed entirely for whats happening...can it?
    No. There are many factors involved in climate change.

    I should have used the word 'Sources' instead of scientists maybe.
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    ...and what difference would that make? The consensus among scientists in the field (i.e. people who know what they are talking about) is pretty clear, if your other sources are not scientists (or non-specialists) take them with a very large pinch of salt.
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    The best sources are the articles published in journals. The second best source are people who are writing articles about those articles in the journals.

    By the time you get to cable news it's morons in suits reporting what someone heard might be a good story from their biased and politically-driven boss who watched a show with a couple people who might be authorities in the field even though he's not sure, but I'll be damned if it won't make for good ratings!

    Forget a grain. Take it with a full salt lick.
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    So why are they "mysterious?" Their origin? Their composition? How they affect ozone?

    Own answer: looks like their origin is mysterious.

    One can only hope: they're created during the manufacture of Roundup and it will have to be banned. Heh. Kidding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
    So why are they "mysterious?" Their origin? Their composition? How they affect ozone?

    Own answer: looks like their origin is mysterious.

    One can only hope: they're created during the manufacture of Roundup and it will have to be banned. Heh. Kidding.
    According to the BBC news item it is the source. The gases are CFC112, CFC112a, CFC113a and HCFC133a. Levels are low in absolute terms, but these gases are apparently not used by the usual industries (for refrigerants, propellants and so forth), and so it is not possible to identify the emitters. They do seem to be man-made though, as ice core samples show they have only appeared since the 1960s.
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    Thanks. That's pretty good evidence.

    They pretty much have to be byproducts of some manufacturing process that produces chlorinated compounds, though, right?
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    I would say it's more likely that they are being deliberately made somewhere (illegally) and leaks are leading to direct emission, I could be wrong but I can't imagine a process that would make this type of CFC or HCFC as a by-product...
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    Aren't the simpler ones better refrigerants? Why would someone make these?
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    The simpler ones are much easier to detect, if you are trying to do it on the sly you don't want that...

    These were detected using a very sensistive bit of kit (the top one in this link I'm guessing -- I remember when it was installed it was a bitch to get it over the little step into the department we all pitched in and basically had to carry it -- it's huge!)

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/tracegaslab...ties/index.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    According to the BBC news item it is the source. The gases are CFC112, CFC112a, CFC113a and HCFC133a. Levels are low in absolute terms, but these gases are apparently not used by the usual industries (for refrigerants, propellants and so forth), and so it is not possible to identify the emitters. They do seem to be man-made though, as ice core samples show they have only appeared since the 1960s.
    Teflon production?
    Just guessing.
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  27. #26  
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    Cow farts?
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Teflon production?
    Just guessing.
    I could maybe see that if they were fluorocarbons but are chlorofluorocarbons likely to be produced as a by-product of Teflon? I dunno?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG
    Cow farts?
    Must be them new fangled cows with a built in refrigeration system to keep the milk cold
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    The simpler ones are much easier to detect, if you are trying to do it on the sly you don't want that...

    These were detected using a very sensistive bit of kit (the top one in this link I'm guessing -- I remember when it was installed it was a bitch to get it over the little step into the department we all pitched in and basically had to carry it -- it's huge!)

    Atmospheric Chemistry Group
    You guys and "kit." Most Americans think you mean something you can carry around. Heh. I've seen British engineers call four tons of optical inspection system "kit." Never ceases to amuse me.

    Is this clandestine refrigerator manufacturing, or just clandestine refills for systems that shouldn't be able to buy refills, IYO?

    ETA: Those PTR-MS machines are the newest hot stuff IIRC. The original intent was to microsample test patches on silicon wafers.
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    I'd be guessing but the amounts suggest it may be a relatively small scale operation...
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'd be guessing but the amounts suggest it may be a relatively small scale operation...
    Makes one wonder if it's not previously refilled systems that have since been trashed slowly releasing their stuff as they decay in dumps.
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    Yeah, the PTr-MS was pretty cool. I was trained how to run it on the aircraft as a secondary role (they like to have more than one person able to run each bit of kit to allow instrument scientists time off and as a contingency for illness when on campaign) but never actually had to do much or run it in flight. Most of my time was tied up with other measurements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Teflon production?
    Just guessing.
    I could maybe see that if they were fluorocarbons but are chlorofluorocarbons likely to be produced as a by-product of Teflon? I dunno?

    Chlorofluorocarbon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Applications[edit]

    Applications exploit the low toxicity, low reactivity, and low flammability of the CFCs and HCFCs. Every permutation of fluorine, chlorine, and hydrogen based on methane and ethane has been examined and most have been commercialized. Furthermore, many examples are known for higher numbers of carbon as well as related compounds containing bromine. Uses include refrigerants, blowing agents, propellants in medicinal applications, and degreasing solvents.
    Billions of kilograms of chlorodifluoromethane are produced annually as a precursor to tetrafluoroethylene, the monomer that is converted into Teflon.[2]
    bolded and red.
    Just a guess though. I don't know how much leakage might happen in the process.

    It could be leaking out of old dumps too as old cars and refrigerators get recycled.
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  34. #33  
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    I saw an item about it - can't remember where - and the only source of these things I recall them speculating about was manufacture/cleaning of electronic equipment. There were a few others, but they've slipped from the memory bank.

    hannah40.
    what's the point in us caring or trying to reduce a problem whilst they don't care.
    We're almost entirely to blame for what those who are following in our footsteps are imitating. We've had the knowledge and the capacity to do things differently, and better, for decades. Certainly before China got going.

    If we'd followed up and developed solar power for instance back when we could easily have done so - think Jimmy Carter installing those panels on the White House and then Reagan removing them in the early 80s instead of pursuing innovation and expansion of the small existing industry in the USA - then the Chinese would be neither eating America's lunch in panel manufacturing nor would it have been so locked in to coal based power for its own industrial expansion. And there wouldn't be the humiliation of a major Chinese solar panel manufacturer having some of those former White House solar panels as a kind of trophy in the foyer of their head office.
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    The chemistry is way beyond my level but any chance of this stuff being a by product of something clearly illegal like methamphetamine production? My other thought is the mafia run toxic chemical dumping in southern Italy. (hint: don't buy food products grown in and around Naples.)
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    The chemistry is way beyond my level but any chance of this stuff being a by product of something clearly illegal like methamphetamine production? My other thought is the mafia run toxic chemical dumping in southern Italy.
    I'd be more inclined to the view that it's commercial.

    We don't know where the new gases are being emitted from and this should be investigated. Possible sources include feedstock chemicals for insecticide production and solvents for cleaning electronic components.
    Four new human-made ozone depleting gases found in the atmosphere -- ScienceDaily


    A total 74000 tons of gases is peanuts compare to the 9.7 billion tons of CO2 we spew out every year nowadays, but it's still a lot more than I'd expect from the sort of thing you're talking about. I'd suspect rogue manufacturers of electronic equipment working out that a solvent they can produce/obtain more cheaply than the usual industrial standard to be a more likely candidate. There are plenty of unbranded and fake-branded electronic items on the market. There's a reason why they can sell so cheaply - using unapproved processes is just one of many strategies. It's still illegal in the sense of violating or skirting international agreements (because the chemicals themselves are not specifically named) but not illegal in the drug cooking sense.

    And nobody I know would put anything past insecticide manufacturers, especially of the off-label, unbranded stuff.
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  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'd be guessing but the amounts suggest it may be a relatively small scale operation...
    Makes one wonder if it's not previously refilled systems that have since been trashed slowly releasing their stuff as they decay in dumps.
    I'm not so sure. The numbers don't ring any bells as being the types typically used in refrigeration. I used to look after a product line of lubricants for refrigeration at one time, and the degree of solubility of refrigerant in the lubricant was an important performance issue, so we were aware of the most common types. But of course we focused on major producers and system designers, who had brands to protect and were therefore keen to abide by environmental regs. Its always possible with the growth of indigenous manufacturing in e.g.India, China and S America that new players have emerged that fly under the radar and may use different chemistry. Or it could be associated with some other application entirely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Cow farts?
    Ha ha They've only been dropping their guts since the 1960's!
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  39. #38  
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    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Cow farts?
    Ha ha They've only been dropping their guts since the 1960's!
    …and God alone knows what they'd need to eat in order to fart CFCs………...
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hannah40 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Cow farts?
    Ha ha They've only been dropping their guts since the 1960's!
    …and God alone knows what they'd need to eat in order to fart CFCs………...
    You can always ask the scientists of Flatology.
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