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New greenhouse gas has higher global warming impact than CO2

By Ritu Singh | Last Updated: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 22:22

Zee Media Bureau

Toronto: A long-lived man-made greenhouse gas that appears to have the highest global-warming impact of any compound to date has been discovered.

This chemical – perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) has broken all other chemical records for its potential to impact climate, said researchers from University of Toronto’s Department of Chemistry.

To describe how effectively a molecule can affect climate, radiative efficiency is taken as a measure. This value is then multiplied by its atmospheric concentration to determine the total climate impact.Researchers used the radiative efficiency of CO2 as a baseline for their comparison since it is the most important greenhouse gas responsible for human-induced climate change.

“PFTBA is extremely long-lived in the atmosphere and it has a very high radiative efficiency; the result of this is a very high global warming potential. Calculated over a 100-year timeframe, a single molecule of PFTBA has the equivalent climate impact as 7,100 molecules of CO2,” said researcher Angela Hong.

PFTBA has been in use since the mid-20th century for various applications in electrical equipment and is currently used in thermally and chemically stable liquids marketed for use in electronic testing and as heat transfer agents.It does not occur naturally and is a byproduct of human activities.

First Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 22:20

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