Nitrous oxide has now become the largest ozone-depleting substance emitted through human activities, and is expected to remain the largest throughout the 21st century, NOAA scientists say in a new study.
For the first time, this study has evaluated nitrous oxide emissions from human activities in terms of their potential impact on Earth’s ozone layer. As chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have been phased out by international agreement, ebb in the atmosphere, nitrous oxide will remain a significant ozone-destroyer, the study found. Today, nitrous oxide emissions from human activities are more than twice as high as the next leading ozone-depleting gas.
Nitrous oxide is emitted from natural sources and as a byproduct of agricultural fertilization and other industrial processes. Calculating the effect on the ozone layer now and in the future, NOAA researchers found that emissions of nitrous oxide from human activities erode the ozone layer and will continue to do so for many decades.
The study…appears online in the journal Science [subscription]…
Though the role of nitrous oxide in ozone depletion has been known for several decades, the new study is the first to explicitly calculate that role using the same measures that have been applied to CFCs, halons and other chlorine- and bromine-containing ozone-depleting substances…
Nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas, so reducing its emission from manmade sources would be good for both the ozone layer and climate, the scientists said.
I’ll look around for someone hosting the whole report for free. You may do the same. I’d love to read the details of the study.
Meanwhile, be prepared, of course, for a new wave of “skeptics” who will further display the atrophy of their brains with wit and humor, lies and deceit – over nitrous oxide. Since they never felt CFC’s were a concern either.