Halocarbon emissions from the United States and Mexico and their global warming potential

Dylan B. Millet, Elliot L. Atlas, Donald R. Blake, Nicola J. Blake, Glenn S. Diskin, John S. Holloway, Rynda C. Hudman, Simone Meinardi, Thomas B. Ryerson, Glen W. Sachse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We use recent aircraft measurements of a comprehensive suite of anthropogenic halocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), and related tracers to place new constraints on North American halocarbon emissions and quantifytheir global warming potential. Using a chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) we find that the ensemble of observations are consistent with our prior best estimate of the U.S. anthropogenic CO source, but suggest a 30% underestimate of Mexican emissions. We develop an optimized CO emission inventory on this basis and quantify halocarbon emissions from their measured enhancements relative to CO. Emissions continue for many compounds restricted under the Montreal Protocol, and we show that halocarbons make up an important fraction of the total greenhouse gas source for both countries: our best estimate is 9% (uncertainty range 6-12%) and 32% (21-52%) of equivalent CO 2 emissions for the U.S. and Mexico, respectively, on a 20 year time scale. Performance of bottom-up emission inventories is variable, with underestimates for some compounds and overestimates for others. Ongoing methylchloroform emissions are significant in the U.S. (2.8 Gg/y in 2004-2006), in contrast to bottom-up estimates (<0.05 Gg), with implications for tropospheric OH calculations. Mexican methylchloroform emissions are minor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1060
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2009


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