In a blow to ozone-protection efforts, scientists have identified four new man-made gases in the atmosphere which are contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer. Two of the newly discovered gases are accumulating at a rate that is causing concern among scientists. New research by scientists at the University of East Anglia, UK, shows that more than 74,000 tonnes of three new chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and one new hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) have been released into the atmosphere.

“Our research has shown four gases that were not around in the atmosphere at all until the 1960s which suggests they are human-made,” lead researcher Dr Johannes Laube from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences said. “The identification of these four new gases is very worrying as they will contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer,” said Laube. Scientists made the discovery by comparing today’s air samples with air trapped in polar firn snow – which provides a century-old natural archive of the atmosphere.

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