Investigating HALocarbon impacts on the global Environment (InHALE)

With the Kigali Amendment coming into force in 2019, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has entered a major new phase in which the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) will be controlled in most major economies. This landmark achievement will enhance the Protocol's already-substantial benefits to climate, in addition to its success in protecting the ozone layer. However, recent scientific advances have shown that challenges lie ahead for the Montreal Protocol, due to the newly discovered production of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) thought to be phased-out, rapid growth of ozone-depleting compounds not controlled under the Protocol, and the potential for damaging impacts of halocarbon degradation products. This proposal tackles the most urgent scientific questions surrounding these challenges by combining state-of-the-art techniques in atmospheric measurements, laboratory experiments and advanced numerical modelling. We will: 1) significantly expand atmospheric measurement coverage to better understand the global distribution of halocarbon emissions and to identify previously unknown atmospheric trends, 2) combine industry models and atmospheric data to improve our understanding of the relationship between production (the quantity controlled under the Protocol), "banks" of halocarbons stored in buildings and products, and emissions to the atmosphere, 3) determine recent and likely future trends of unregulated, short-lived halocarbons, and implications for the timescale of recovery of the ozone layer, 4) explore the complex atmospheric chemistry of the newest generation of halocarbons and determine whether breakdown products have the potential to contribute to climate change or lead to unforeseen negative environmental consequences, 5) better quantify the influence of halocarbons on climate and refine the climate- and ozone-depletion-related metrics used to compare the effects of halocarbons in international agreements and in the design of possible mitigation strategies. This work will be carried out by a consortium of leaders in the field of halocarbon research, who have an extensive track record of contributing to Montreal Protocol bodies and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ensuring lasting impact of the new developments that will be made.