Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Move Over CO2, Here Comes NF3 and SO2F2

While most of the attention has been focused on the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when it comes to global warming, two little known greenhouse gases, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulfuryl fluoride (SO2), are rapidly increasing in concentration, although their levels are still low. The latest measurements published were made by a team of scientists from the US and Australia. In a story posted on RedOrbit News, one of the scientists, Dr. Paul Fraser from the Center for Australian Weather and Climate research, is quoted as saying that “these gases have significant global warming potential.” Somewhat ironically nitrogen trifluoride is used in the manufacture of thin-film solar panels. It is also used in the manufacture of various type of electronic devices including liquid-crystal flat panel screens. Sulfuryl fluoride is used in fumigation. Dr. Fraser believes that in addition to likely setting targets for the better known greenhouse gases, it is likely targets will be set for these two other greenhouse gases in any revision of the Kyoto Protocol.

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