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NASA Study: Common Coolants in Refrigerators and Vehicles cause Ozone depletion

NASA Common coolants

As per a new NASA study, which appeared in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a class of chemical coolants used in refrigerators and in a home and automobile air conditioners contribute to ozone depletion by a small but measurable amount.

The ozone layer comprises of a belt of ozone molecules located primarily in the lower stratosphere. It is responsible for absorbing most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation before it reaches Earth’s surface.The researchers estimated that the common chemical coolants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) will cause a 0.035 percent decrease in ozone by 2050.

“We are not suggesting HFCs are an existential threat to the ozone layer or to ozone hole recovery, but the impact is not zero as has been claimed,” said lead study author Margaret Hurwitz, an atmospheric scientist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The research, which concentrated on the five types of HFCs expected to contribute the most to global warming in 2050, found that the gases indirectly contribute to ozone depletion.

HFC emissions cause enhanced warming of the stratosphere, hurrying up the chemical reactions that damage ozone molecules, and they also lower ozone levels in the tropics by accelerating the upward movement of ozone-poor air, the findings showed.

HFCs have been adopted as replacements for chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) in refrigerators and in home and automobile air conditioners.

CFCs were largely responsible for the ozone depletion first observed by scientists in the 1980s, most notably the ozone hole above Antarctica, which continues today.

But the scientists also found that HFCs have a nearly linear impact on stratospheric temperature and ozone change.

The study points out that if these production trends continue, projections show that, by 2050, the amount of global warming by all HFCs could be as large as 20 percent that of carbon dioxide.

 

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Ranjeet Kumar Upadhyay

Ranjeet Kumar Upadhyay is a Computer Engineer by profession. He recently finished his B.TECH from Uttaranchal Institute Of Technology, Dehradun. He has been working in AON for last two years. He has a great taste for technology and loves to read and write.

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