Susan Solomon

The alarm bells on ozone depletion chemical CFCs led to the Montreal Protocol banning them. But the problem may not be gone forever. One of the scientists who had a crucial role in the research on CFCs and ozone depletion, Professor Susan Solomon, a 2009 laureate of the Volvo Environment Prize, recently published a study predicting a new kind of threat.  Oceans that have absorbed vast quantities of CFC will start emitting ozone-depleting CFCs back to the atmosphere next century.

The world’s oceans are a vast repository for gases, including ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. They absorb these gases from the atmosphere and draw them down to the deep, where they can remain sequestered for centuries.

The new study by Susan Solomon and MIT researchers finds that the oceans may begin emitting CFCs by 2075.

“Even if there were no climate change, as CFCs decay in the atmosphere, eventually the ocean has too much relative to the atmosphere, and it will come back out,” says Professor Susan Solomon.

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