Climatic Change

, Volume 71, Issue 1–2, pp 249–266 | Cite as

The Role Of Halocarbons In The Climate Change Of The Troposphere And Stratosphere

  • Piers M. De F. ForsterEmail author
  • Manoj Joshi


Releases of halocarbons into the atmosphere over the last 50 years are among the factors that have contributed to changes in the Earth’s climate since pre-industrial times. Their individual and collective potential to contribute directly to surface climate change is usually gauged through calculation of their radiative efficiency, radiative forcing, and/or Global Warming Potential (GWP). For those halocarbons that contain chlorine and bromine, indirect effects on temperature via ozone layer depletion represent another way in which these gases affect climate. Further, halocarbons can also affect the temperature in the stratosphere. In this paper, we use a narrow-band radiative transfer model together with a range of climate models to examine the role of these gases on atmospheric temperatures in the stratosphere and troposphere. We evaluate in detail the halocarbon contributions to temperature changes at the tropical tropopause, and find that they have contributed a significant warming of ~0.4 K over the last 50 years, dominating the effect of the other well-mixed greenhouse gases at these levels. The fact that observed tropical temperatures have not warmed strongly suggests that other mechanisms may be countering this effect. In a climate model this warming of the tropopause layer is found to lead to a 6% smaller climate sensitivity for halocarbons on a globally averaged basis, compared to that for carbon dioxide changes. Using recent observations together with scenarios we also assess their past and predicted future direct and indirect roles on the evolution of surface temperature. We find that the indirect effect of stratospheric ozone depletion could have offset up to approximately half of the predicted past increases in surface temperature that would otherwise have occurred as a result of the direct effect of halocarbons. However, as ozone will likely recover in the next few decades, a slightly faster rate of warming should be expected from the net effect of halocarbons, and we find that together halocarbons could bring forward next century’s expected warming by ~20 years if future emissions projections are realized. In both the troposphere and stratosphere CFC-12 contributes most to the past temperature changes and the emissions projection considered suggest that HFC-134a could contribute most of the warming over the coming century.


Ozone Global Warming Potential Climate Sensitivity Stratospheric Ozone Radiative Transfer Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Christiansen, B.: 1999, ‘Radiative forcing and climate sensitivity: The ozone experience’, Quarterly Journal of the Roy Meteorological Society 125, 3011–3025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dickenson, R. E.: 1978, ‘Effect of chlorofluromethane infrared radiation on zonal atmospheric temperatures’, Journal of Atmospheric Science 35, 2142–2152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Folkins, I. A., Oltmans, S. J., and Thompson, A.: 2000, ‘A relationship between convective outflow and surface equivalent potential temperatures in the tropics’, Geophysical Research Letters 27, 2549–2552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Forster, P. M. de F., Freckleton, R. S., and Shine, K. P.: 1997, ‘On the concept of radiative forcing’, Climate Dynamics 13, 547–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Forster, P. M. de F. and Shine, K. P.: 1999, ‘Stratospheric water vapor changes as a possible contributor to observed stratospheric cooling’, Geophysical Research Letters 26, 3309–3312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Forster P. M. de F., Blackburn. M., Glover, R., and Shine, K. P.: 2000, ‘An examination of climate sensitivity for idealised climate change experiments in an intermediate general circulation model’, Climate Dynamics 16, 833–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fu, Q. and Liou, K. N.: 1992, ‘On the correlated-k distribution method for radiative transfer in nonhomogeneous atmospheres’, Journal of Atmospheric Science 49, 2139–2156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gettelman, A. and Forster, P. M. de F.: 2002, ‘Definition and climatology of the tropical tropopause layer’, Journal of Meteorological Society of Japan 80, 911–924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Govindasamy, B., Taylor, K. E., Duffy, P. B., Santer, B. D., Grossman, A. S., and Grant, K. E.: 2001, ‘Limitations of the equivalent CO2 approximation in climate change simulations’, Journal of Geophysical Research 106, 22593–22603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hansen J., Sato M., and Ruedy R.: 1997, ‘Radiative forcing and climate response’, Journal of Geophysical Research 102, 6831–6864. IPCC-SRES: 2000, in N. Nakicenovic, et al. (eds.), IPCC Special Report on emission Scenarios, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  11. IPCC, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  12. Myhre, G., Myhre, A., and Stordal, F.: 2001, ‘Historical evolution of radiative forcing of climate’, Atmosphere and Environment 35, 2361–2373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jain, A. K., Briegleb, B. P., Minschwaner K., and Wuebbles, D. J. J.: 2000, Geophysical Research 105, 20773.Google Scholar
  14. Joshi, M., Shine, K., Ponater, M., Stuber, N., Sausen, R., and Li, L.: 2003, ‘A comparison of climate response to different radiative forcings in three general circulation models: Towards an improved metric of climate change’, Climate Dynamics 20, 843–854.Google Scholar
  15. Randel, W. J. and Wu, F.: 1999, ‘A stratospheric ozone trends data set for global modelling studies’, Geophysical Research Letters 26, 3089–3092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rossow, W. B. and Schiffer, R. A.: 1991, ‘ISCCP cloud data products’, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 72, 2–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sihra, K., Hurley, M. D., Shine, K. P., and Wallington, T. J.: 2001, ‘Updated radiative forcing estimates of sixty-five halocarbons and non-methane hydrocarbons’, Journal of Geophysical Research 106, 20493–20506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shine, K. P.: 1991, ‘On the cause of the relative greenhouse strength of gases such as the halocarbons’, Journal of the Atmospheric Science 48, 1513–1518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Shine, K. P. and Forster, P. M. de F.: 1999, ‘The effect of human activity on radiative forcing of climate change: A review of recent developments’, Global Planet Change 20, 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shine, K. P., Bourqui, M. S., Forster, P. M. de F., Hare, S. H. E., Langematz, U., Braesicke, P., Grewe, V., Ponater, M., Schnadt, C., Smith, C. A., Haigh, J. D., Austin, J., Butchart, N., Shindell, D. T., Randel, W. J., Nagashima, T., Portmann, R. W., Solomon, S., Seidel, D. J., Lanzante, J., Klein, S., Ramaswamy, V., and Schwarzkopf, M. D.: 2003, ‘A comparison of model-simulated trends in stratospheric temperatures’, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 129, 1565–1588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Shine, K. P., Fuglestvedt, J. S., Hailemariam, K., Stuber, N.: 2004, ‘Alternatives to the global warming potential for comparing climate impacts of emissions of greenhouse gases’, Climatic Change, in press.Author: Please update referenceGoogle Scholar
  22. Solomon, S. and Daniel, J. S.: 1996, ‘Impact of the Montreal protocol and its amendments on the rate of change of global radiative forcing’, 32, 7–17.Author: Please provide the name of the journal in the referenceGoogle Scholar
  23. Wang, W.-C., Dudek, M. P., Liang, X.-Z., and Kiehl, J. T.: 1991, ‘Inadequacy of effective CO2 as a proxy in simulating the greenhouse effect of the other radiatively active gases’, Nature 350, 573–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wang, W.-C., Dudek, M. P., and Liang, X.-Z.: 1992, ‘Inadequacy of effective CO2 as a proxy in assessing the regional climate change due to other radiatively active gases’, Geophysical Research Letters 19, 1375–1378.Google Scholar
  25. WMO Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2002, Global ozone research and monitoring project No. 47, Geneva, 2003.Google Scholar
  26. Zhou, X. L., Geller, M. A., and Zhang, M.: 2001, ‘Cooling trends of the tropical tropopause cold point and its implications’, Journal of the Geophysical Research 106, 1511–1522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Zhong, W. Y., Toumi, R., and Haigh, J. D.: 1996, ‘Climate forcing by stratospheric ozone depletion calculated from observed temperature trends’, Geophysical Research Letters 23, 3183–3186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NOAA Aeronomy LaboratoryBoulderU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of ReadingReadingUK
  3. 3.Met OfficeUK

Personalised recommendations