Researchers from the University of East Anglia have discovered evidence of four new gases that can destroy ozone yater and are getting into the atmosphere from as yet unidentified sources.
Three of the gases are CFCs and one is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), which can also damage ozone.
“Our research has shown four gases that were not around in the atmosphere at all until the 1960s which suggests they are man-made,” said lead researcher Dr Johannes Laube.
The scientists discovered the gases by analysing polar firm, perennial snow pack. Air extracted from this snow is a natural archive of what was in the atmosphere up to 100 years ago.
Two of the gases are accumulating at a rate that is causing concern among researchers.
“Other scientists acknowledged that while the current concentrations of these gases are small and they don’t present an immediate concern, work would have to be done to identify their origin.