Atmospheric concentrations of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) increased substantially in 2004, according to scientific observations over the Arctic. Emissions of refrigerant HFC 134a doubled between 2001 and 2004.
Scientists at the Zeppelin station, in the Norwegian territory of Ny-Ålesund, over the Arctic, have issued their latest report on the monitoring of greenhouse gases. They confirm a worrying rising trend of HFC concentrations in the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
Among the HFC family, levels of refrigerant HFC-134a, widely used for air conditioning in cars, doubled between 2001 and 2004. HFCs were developed to replace ozone-depleting CFCs, but scientific evidence shows its high global warming potential.
The Norwegian Institute for Air Research issued the report monitoring emissions during 2004. The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, the European Commission and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency co-finance the measurements at Ny-Ålesund. These are important for climate modelling, since the station is among the few sites in Europe to monitor emissions systematically.
Results from the greenhouse gas monitoring are used for assessment of compliance with the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols.