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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tropospheric OH and the lifetimes of hydrochlorofluorocarbons

  • Author(s): Prather, Michael
  • Spivakovsky, Clarisa M
  • et al.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) may be used as alternatives for the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Lifetimes for the HCFCs are predicted here in two ways: integrating their loss with a global model, and scaling to another compound with a better known lifetime. Both approaches are shown here to yield similar results. Three-dimensional fields of modeled tropospheric OH concentrations are used to calculate lifetimes against destruction by OH for the HCFCs and other hydrogenated halocarbons. The OH fields are taken from a three-dimensional chemical transport model [Spivakovsky et al., 1990a] that accurately simulates the global measurements of methyl chloroform (derived lifetime of 5.5 yr). The lifetimes of various hydro-halocarbons are shown to be insensitive to possible spatial variations and seasonal cycles. It is possible to scale the HCFC lifetimes to that of methyl chloroform or methane by using a ratio of the rate coefficients for reaction with OH at an appropriate temperature, about 277 K.

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