Global Atmosphere Watch Station, Photo via: Robstephaustralia
First, the Bad news
It seems like the world just keeps coming up with more bad news and no matter how hard we try, there are always new bad things popping up. A team of international researchers at the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences have discovered a potentially harmful greenhouse gas, known as Sulfuryl Fluoride, within the atmosphere. The bad news is it is 4,800 times worse than CO2, but the good news is...Now the Good News
We have caught it early enough in the game that the researchers do not think that it is going to be a major problem. It is currently only manufactured by three different manufacturers under the brand names, Vikane, ProFume, Zythor, and Master Fume. It was originally developed by the DOW Chemical Company to control insects on such crops as grains, fruits, and nuts, and has recently been gaining attention as an effective means of controlling insects from destroying woods meant for commercial and residential construction.
Sulfuryl Fluoride was introduced as a replacement for another harmful insecticide called Methyl Bromide, which had been identified as a potentially harmful greenhouse gas back in the early 2000's under the international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol. The problem that remains now, is finding a replacement as quickly as possible. Until we find something else we have to continue using what we have, as such insecticides are absolutely essential for preserving healthy crops and ensuring strong, insect-free substructures within buildings and residential homes.
The global research program responsible for the find is the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), sponsored by NASA. These researchers have taken on the task to monitor the many different gases found within the atmosphere to determine any potential problems before they become too substantial and before the industry responsible for them becomes too big. There are new chemicals being invented for various purposes every day, so it is nice to hear we have a few dedicated scientists keeping a watchful eye over our delicate planet!