Updated global warming potentials and radiative efficiencies of halocarbons and other weak atmospheric absorbers

Øivind Hodnebrog, B. Aamas, J. S. Fuglestvedt, George Marston, Gunnar Myhre, C. J. Nielsen, M. Sandstad, K. P. Shine, T. J. Wallington

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    Human activity has led to increased atmospheric concentrations of many gases, including halocarbons, and may lead to emissions of many more gases. Many of these gases are, on a per molecule basis, powerful greenhouse gases, although at present-day concentrations their climate effect is in the so-called weak limit (i.e., their effect scales linearly with concentration). We published a comprehensive review of the radiative efficiencies (RE) and global warming potentials (GWP) for around 200 such compounds in 2013 (Hodnebrog et al., 2013, https://doi.org/10.1002/rog.20013). Here we present updated RE and GWP values for compounds where experimental infrared absorption spectra are available. Updated numbers are based on a revised “Pinnock curve”, which gives RE as a function of wave number, and now also accounts for stratospheric temperature adjustment (Shine & Myhre, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019MS001951). Further updates include the implementation of around 500 absorption spectra additional to those in the 2013 review and new atmospheric lifetimes from the literature (mainly from WMO (2019)). In total, values for 60 of the compounds previously assessed are based on additional absorption spectra, and 42 compounds have REs which differ by >10% from our previous assessment. New RE calculations are presented for more than 400 compounds in addition to the previously assessed compounds, and GWP calculations are presented for a total of around 250 compounds. Present-day radiative forcing due to halocarbons and other weak absorbers is 0.38 [0.33–0.43] W m −2, compared to 0.36 [0.32–0.40] W m −2 in IPCC AR5 (Myhre et al., 2013, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.018), which is about 18% of the current CO 2 forcing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere2019RG000691
    JournalReviews of Geophysics
    Issue number3
    Early online date7 Sept 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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