A fumigant commonly pumped into tented houses to kill termites lingers in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming, according to a study released today by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Sulfuryl fluoride is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere about 36 years--six to 10 times longer than previously thought, according to the study led by Jens Muhle, an atmospheric chemist at Scripps.
The researchers found that the concentration of the gas rose at a rate of 4-6 percent between 1978 and 2007.
“Unfortunately, it turns out that sulfuryl fluoride is a greenhouse gas with a longer lifetime than previously assumed,’' Muhle said. “This has to be taken into account before large amounts are emitted into the atmosphere.’'
The results of the study will be published in the March 12 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research.
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