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Stephan

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Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« on: October 04, 2019, 07:27:49 PM »
NOAA has created a new site "Trends in Atmospheric SF6" on its website.
It reports monthly about the actual SF6 concentrations at sea level. SF6 is a very powerful GHG and per kg 26,087-fold more intense than CO2; converted into molar activity the factor is 86,678. I translated the CO2 equivalent into the concentration graph. It is not much (we talk about ppt concentrations), but more than nothing, and constantly increasing (higher than linearly = acceleration).

The latest value is for May 2019:
May 2019:     9.90 ppt
May 2018:     9.55 ppt
Last updated: September 18, 2019

The annual increase is 0.35 ppt, above all average annual increase rates (see below)
Annual increase rates (averaged over 5 years):
1998-2003: 0.20 ppt
2003-2008: 0.24 ppt
2008-2013: 0.29 ppt
2013-2018: 0.33 ppt
See attached graphs (concentration and increase rates, expressed as percentage)

Link to the website: https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends_sf6/
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blumenkraft

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2019, 08:43:17 PM »
Quote
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is an inorganic, colorless, odorless, non-flammable, non-toxic but extremely potent greenhouse gas, and an excellent electrical insulator. SF 6 has an octahedral geometry, consisting of six fluorine atoms attached to a central sulfur atom. It is a hypervalent molecule. Typical for a nonpolar gas, it is poorly soluble in water but quite soluble in nonpolar organic solvents. It is generally transported as a liquefied compressed gas. It has a density of 6.12 g/L at sea level conditions, considerably higher than the density of air (1.225 g/L).

Link >> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_hexafluoride

kassy

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2019, 10:03:04 PM »
This is also related to renewable energy:

Per the linked article, sulfur hexafluoride, is the most powerful GHG known to man, and its emissions have been rising rapidly in recent years:

Title: "Climate change: Electrical industry's 'dirty secret' boosts warming"

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49567197

Extract: "It's the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity, and emissions have risen rapidly in recent years, the BBC has learned.

Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used in the electrical industry to prevent short circuits and accidents.

But leaks of the little-known gas in the UK and the rest of the EU in 2017 were the equivalent of putting an extra 1.3 million cars on the road."

See the artice for details but here is a further quote:

Quote
Are there alternatives - and are they very expensive?
The question of alternatives to SF6 has been contentious over recent years.

For high-voltage applications, experts say there are very few solutions that have been rigorously tested.

"There is no real alternative that is proven," said Prof Manu Haddad from the school of engineering at Cardiff University.

"There are some that are being proposed now but to prove their operation over a long period of time is a risk that many companies don't want to take."

However, for medium voltage operations there are several tried-and-tested materials. Some in the industry say that the conservative nature of the electrical industry is the key reason that few want to change to a less harmful alternative.

"I will tell you, everyone in this industry knows you can do this; there is not a technical reason not to do it," said Louis Shaffer from Eaton.

"It's not really economic; it's more a question that change takes effort and if you don't have to, you won't do it."
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 09:19:21 PM »
The averages for July 2019 have been published:
July 2019:     9.97 ppt
July 2018:     9.61 ppt
Last updated: November 05, 2019
The annual increase of 0.36 ppt is a tiny bit higher than in May.
The relative increase of 3.7% is remarkable. If you put that relation onto CO2 concentrations, the annual increase would be around 15 ppm (calculation based on 410 ppm). But in contrast to CO2 SF6 has no natural sinks.
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2019, 08:42:09 PM »
Finally, SF6 also received an update.

August 2019:     9.98 ppt
August 2018:     9.63 ppt
Last updated: December 05, 2019

The annual increase of 0.35 ppt is comparable to the values we saw the last months.
Interestingly, the relative increase (0.35 ppt = 3,6 %) is much higher than that of the other greenhouse gases. It is probably the lack of natural sinks that causes this effect.
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2019, 12:55:35 AM »
Quote
It is probably the lack of natural sinks that causes this effect.
Could it also be that the baseline is so small, just a few ppt?
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2019, 09:50:33 PM »
I think that SF6 would be completely absent without humans on this planet. It is no naturally formed molecule, but a product of chemical industry.
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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2019, 08:18:49 AM »
I found this interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_hexafluoride#Greenhouse_gas

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, SF6 is the most potent greenhouse gas that it has evaluated, with a global warming potential of 23,900[28] times that of CO2 when compared over a 100-year period. Sulfur hexafluoride is inert in the troposphere and stratosphere and is extremely long-lived, with an estimated atmospheric lifetime of 800–3,200 years.[29]

Measurements of SF6 show that its global average mixing ratio has increased by about 0.2 ppt (parts per trillion) per year to over 9 ppt as of February 2018.[30][31] Average global SF6 concentrations increased by about seven percent per year during the 1980s and 1990s, mostly as the result of its use in the magnesium production industry, and by electrical utilities and electronics manufacturers. Given the small amounts of SF6 released compared to carbon dioxide, its overall contribution to global warming is estimated to be less than 0.2 percent.
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Ken Feldman

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2019, 08:42:33 PM »
SF6 is included in the "15 minor" trace gases shown in red in the graph below.  All greenhouse gases are tracked by NOAA at this website:

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html


Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2020, 04:59:24 PM »
The monthly average for September 2019 is available:

September 2019:     10.00 ppt
September 2018:     9.66 ppt
Last updated: January 05, 2020

The annual increase of 0.34 ppt is comparable to the values we saw the last months.
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gerontocrat

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2020, 10:36:05 PM »
The monthly average for September 2019 is available:

September 2019:     10.00 ppt
September 2018:     9.66 ppt
Last updated: January 05, 2020

The annual increase of 0.34 ppt is comparable to the values we saw the last months.
However, SF6 ppt has increased by 150% since 1997.

Using the 20 year GWP** of 16,300 gives a CO2e of just on 0.16 ppm, i.e. marginal but becoming of significance.
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2020, 10:37:17 PM »
NOAA's October values for SF6 are available:

October 2019:     10.03 ppt
October 2018:     9.71 ppt
Last updated: February 05, 2020

After September broke the limit of 10.00 ppt, here comes a further increase.
The annual increase of 0.32 ppt is at the lower end of the range (since about 2012 the annual increase lies between 0.30 and 0.37 ppt, peaking in 2017).

The NOAA history of atmospheric SF6 goes back to July 1997. If I set an index in Jan 2000 at 100, then October 2019 has a relative value of 223. This is more than a doubling since then!!
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2020, 08:27:45 PM »
NOAA has updated its report on atmospheric SF6:

November 2019:     10.07 ppt
November 2018:       9.75 ppt
Last updated: March 05, 2020

This value represents a CO2 eq. of about 0.58 / 0.78 ppm. (20 y / 100 y)

The annual increase of 0.32 ppt is at the lower end of the range (since about 2012 the annual increase lies between 0.30 and 0.37 ppt, peaking in 2017).

The NOAA history of atmospheric SF6 goes back to July 1997. If I set an index in Jan 2000 at 100, then November 2019 has a relative value of 224.
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2020, 08:47:00 PM »
NOAA has updated its report on atmospheric SF6:

December 2019:     10.09 ppt
December 2018:       9.78 ppt
Last updated: April 05, 2020

The 2019 average is thus 9.94 ppt, 0.34 ppt above the 2018 average.

This value represents a CO2 eq. of about 0.59 / 0.78 ppm. (20 y / 100 y)

The annual increase of 0.31 ppt is at the lower end of the range (since about 2012 the annual increase lies between 0.30 and 0.37 ppt, peaking in 2017).

The NOAA history of atmospheric SF6 goes back to July 1997. If I set an index in Jan 2000 at 100, then December 2019 has a relative value of 224.
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2020, 10:31:20 PM »
It is the fifth of the new month and so the average values of the "NOAA gases" are available.
Here is the value of SF6:

January 2020:     10.12 ppt
January 2019:     9.80 ppt
Last updated: May 05, 2020

This value represents a CO2 eq. of about 0.59 / 0.79 ppm. (20 y / 100 y)

The annual increase of 0.32 ppt is at the lower end of the range (since about 2012 the annual increase lies between 0.30 and 0.37 ppt, peaking in 2017).

The NOAA history of atmospheric SF6 goes back to July 1997. If I set an index in Jan 2000 at 100, then January 2020 has a relative value of 225.
It is too late just to be concerned about Climate Change

Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2020, 09:37:55 PM »
It is the fifth of the new month and so the average values of the "NOAA gases" are available.
Here is the value of SF6:

February 2020:     10.15 ppt
February 2019:     9.82 ppt
Last updated: June 05, 2020

The annual increase is 0.33 ppt. It is about average of what has been observed in the last decade.

I set an index of 100 for the year 1980 [0.848 ppt]. February 2020 has the relative value compared to that index of 1,197 (= almost 12-fold; imagine that would be the increase rate of CO2!)
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2020, 09:05:00 PM »
It is the sixth of the new month and so the average values of the "NOAA gases" are available.
Here is the value of SF6:

March 2020:     10.18 ppt
March 2019:       9.85 ppt
Last updated: July 05, 2020

The annual increase is 0.33 ppt. It is about average of what has been observed in the last decade.

I set an index of 100 for the year 1980 [0.848 ppt]. March 2020 has now passed the relative value compared to that index of 1,200 (= 12-fold; imagine that would be the increase rate of CO2!)
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2020, 07:24:23 PM »
It is the sixth of the new month and so the average values of the "NOAA gases" are available.
Here is the value of SF6:

April 2020:     10.20 ppt
April 2019:       9.88 ppt
Last updated: August 05, 2020

The annual increase is 0.32 ppt. It is about average of what has been observed in the last decade.

I set an index of 100 for the year 1980 [0.848 ppt]. April 2020 is at 1,202.

Attached a graph of the SF6 development. I added a linear trend line - not because I think the growth is linear, but more to show its exponential nature.
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oren

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2020, 05:53:56 PM »
Thank you Stephan for the regular updates and for the chart, which helps visualize the situation.

Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2020, 08:35:39 PM »
With a little delay also the latest monthly average for SF6 is available from NOAA:

May 2020:     10.23 ppt
May 2019:       9.90 ppt
Last updated: September 05, 2020

The annual increase is 0.33 ppt. It is about average of what has been observed in the last decade.

I set an index of 100 for the year 1980 [0.848 ppt]. May 2020 is at 1,206.
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Stephan

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Re: Trends in Atmospheric SF6
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2020, 08:33:38 PM »
The latest monthly average for SF6 is available from NOAA:

June 2020:     10.26 ppt
June 2019:       9.92 ppt
Last updated: October 05, 2020

The annual increase is 0.34 ppt. It is about average of what has been observed in the last decade.

I set an index of 100 for the year 1980 [0.848 ppt]. June 2020 is at 1,210.
It is too late just to be concerned about Climate Change