Ozone-depleting chemical still seeping into atmosphere

first_imgThanks to the Montreal Protocol, which brought the major causes of ozone depletion such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) under control, the ozone hole over Antarctica is healing, and global ozone levels are expected to return to 1980 levels by about 2050. But recent studies have found that a lesser known ozone depleter, carbon tetrachloride, isn’t going away as fast as it should be. The substance persists, scientists now suggest, because an unidentified source is still emitting it into the atmosphere.“Most of the Montreal Protocol–controlled gases are decreasing in the atmosphere in exactly the way we had anticipated that they would decrease,” says atmospheric chemist John Pyle of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the new study. “[There may be] leaks into the atmosphere from old refrigerators but essentially they’re all behaving exactly as we would have expected … with the exception of carbon tetrachloride.”The Montreal Protocol, the 1989 treaty intended to phase out emissions of ozone-destroying chemicals, is widely considered one of the most successful international agreements, with near-global participation. Every year, signatory countries are required to report to the U.N. Environment Programme their imports, exports, and production of eight groups of controlled ozone-depleting chemicals. To keep an eye on how well the controls are working, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) measures atmospheric levels of these substances every 4 years, as mandated by Article 6 of the Protocol.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But scientists preparing the 2010 WMO assessment noticed a curious thing. The primary ozone depleters—CFCs (previously used as refrigerants, propellants, and solvents) and halons (used in portable fire extinguishers)—are decreasing in the atmosphere just as expected based on countries’ production reports. But another substance, carbon tetrachloride, is lingering in the atmosphere longer than expected from the reported production numbers.“It’s a nasty little compound,” says Paul Newman, an atmospheric chemist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “It’s toxic, carcinogenic, ozone-depleting, and a greenhouse gas.” It’s also completely humanmade and has been used as a solvent, a cleaning agent, and a chemical feedstock to help synthesize other chemicals such as hydrofluorocarbons (which are potent greenhouse gases but not ozone depleters).Although developing countries were allowed to delay their phaseout of “carbon tet,” it was banned in 2010. And expected emissions based on reported production and feedstock usage after about 2007 were zero. Models based on those expected emissions numbers and on the lifetime of the compound in the atmosphere estimate that its level should be decreasing by about 4% each year. But the WMO data showed that it was decreasing by only 1%.One possible explanation for the discrepancy, Newman says, is that scientists have been underestimating how long the molecule sticks around in the atmosphere. The other possibility is that there’s another source sending the compound into the air.Since the 2010 report, Newman says, “there’s been a big effort to look at the lifetime in the atmosphere of carbon tetrachloride.” It’s known to be at least 25 years—long enough for the gas to distribute evenly around the globe. In that case, measurements of carbon tetrachloride in North America and Australia ought to be equal, assuming there are no new emissions. But they aren’t. The WMO report noted that the amount of the compound was significantly higher in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere.“It turns out we can use the gradient to determine what global emissions ought to be,” Newman says. He and his colleagues ran a number of climate simulations to quantify those emissions. They varied how much of the gas would be absorbed by the ocean or soils and how much might be emitted in each hemisphere, and they considered different estimated lifetimes of the gas. In the end, they simply couldn’t reconcile the observed decline with the reports of zero emissions. Instead, about 31,000 tonnes per year of carbon tetrachloride must still have entered the atmosphere from 2007 to 2012, they report online this week in Geophysical Research Letters.  “If you take a train with 100 tanker cars of carbon tetrachloride derailing once a month, that’s how much is being emitted,” Newman says. “That’s a lot.” The question is “Where’s this stuff coming from? We really don’t know.”Illegal production of carbon tetrachloride is one possibility—but not the only one, he notes. Another potential source is brownfields, old chemical disposal sites from which the gas is still leaking into the air. Yet another alternative is the ongoing use of carbon tetrachloride as a feedstock to produce other compounds; the process should destroy it, but some could be leaking out of production facilities. “But if there’s a lot of leakage, that’s money [the companies] are losing. We don’t have a good handle on that leakage, but we think it’s small,” Newman says. Even washing machines might be a source. Trace amounts of carbon tetrachloride can be produced by combining sodium hypochlorite and soap. “That would be a very, very tiny amount. But times all the clothes washers in the world, that could be a source also,” Newman says.Identifying potential sources is tricky because carbon tetrachloride “is kind of an unusual molecule,” says A. R. Ravishankara, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who was not involved in the new study but who was a co-chair of group that produced the 2010 WMO report (with Newman and Pyle). “It may be being produced in ways that we don’t understand.” The lifetime remains another question mark, Ravishankara says. The new paper removes some uncertainty and estimates an atmospheric lifetime of 35 years rather than 25 years. But Ravishankara says the molecule is different from CFCs in that it “has some removal processes that are kind of weird. It gets a little more difficult.”  And, he adds, “it would also help to be more confident about the emissions numbers reported from countries participating in the Montreal Protocol. It would not be such a bad idea to ask for better accounting.”Newman stresses that his findings do not imply that the Montreal Protocol has failed. Levels of carbon tetrachloride are falling—albeit more slowly than they should—and that’s because of the treaty, he says. And even the fact that scientists are focusing on these additional sources is a victory. “It’s had two successes here: [Carbon tetrachloride] is going down, and we’re looking into what could be an additional source.”Ravishankara agrees, noting that “the key point is that carbon tetrachloride contributes about 10% to the ozone depletion rate right now, so it’s not like other things are not working.” And, Pyle notes, “the overall story of the Montreal Protocol is still that it’s massively successful. What this paper is doing is saying we now understand [the discrepancy] discussed 4 years ago.”The next WMO assessment of ozone-depleting gases in the atmosphere is slated to come out in about a month, Ravishankara says, although the study was published too late to be included.last_img read more

That doesnt mean things are cut and dried by just

first_imgThat doesn’t mean things are cut and dried by just adding support for containers to vSphere, however. VMware, said Adams, deals with IT admins, not with developers directly. As a result, supporting containers doesn’t mean just offering the ability to package and run containers in your infrastructure.“IT admins say, ‘I get you like containers, but you have to give me enterprise capabilities: security, network, data persistence, SLAs, and a consistent level of management,’ ” said Adams. “Since VMworld last year, we’ve been dropping things piece by piece to make all this work.”Today, containers are supported through Project Bonneville, an effort to make vSphere see containers as if they were virtual machines, and vice versa. This means vSphere users can now deploy and manage containers and virtual machines without caring which one is which.VMware is preparing the first update for vSphere, which will arrive later this year. It will include updates to vMotion, which includes cross-data-center syncing, designed to keep ISO files and other info consistent across data centers. This feature also helps to keep virtual machines synced around the globe.Going forward, Adams said that containers will continue to see first-class support from VMware. The end goal is to provide enterprise-grade support, management and services for containers in the enterprise. While he admitted this will be a lot of work, he reiterated that VMware is committed to the task. VMware doesn’t care if you use virtual machines or containers at this point. The company made this abundantly clear as it opened its annual VMworld conference in San Francisco yesterday. It took this opportunity to discuss improvements in vSphere 6.0, which allow containers to become first-class citizens of the data center.Michael Adams, director of vSphere product marketing at VMware, said that vSphere 6.0 can deal with hybrid clouds in a few ways. While it can now handle virtual machines and containers as if they were the same thing, it can also spin those instances up internally or externally, providing what enterprises think of as a more traditional hybrid cloud model.(Related: Other news out of VMworld 2015)Adams said that the interest in containers has fueled VMware to build toward support and the types of enterprise offerings needed to make containers viable. “We’ve been dropping a lot of bread crumbs around what we were going to do with containers,” he said. “A lot of it was about how do we bring together the best of both worlds. Developers like containers because they’re fast and portable.”last_img read more

By and large people have a handle on teamlevel a

first_img“By and large people have a handle on team-level agile,” said Lee Cunningham, director of enterprise agile at VersionOne. “The next frontier is really how do we take what works really well at the team level in terms of quality, in terms of throughput, in terms of the morale of the people; how do we get that in and have that permeate our entire enterprise?”Organizations who have implemented agile at the team level have experienced improved time to market, more predictability in costs and timelines, better ability to engage users, and high retentions of developers, and now they want to see those benefits work for the entire business, according to Andrey Akselrod, cofounder and CTO of Smartling. “Speed and quality of product development is a significant competitive advantage. Enterprises can no longer avoid being agile if they want to survive very competitive markets and very tech-savvy competitors,” he said.According to Cunningham, although departments such as HR, finance, marketing and sales may not have the same work as the software development department, agile can still help with their daily workflows. “They are really dealing with the same things that your software organization is dealing with,” he said.“They have more work than they can possibly do in the time they are given, things are changing, and the things that they are being asked to do are often ambiguous. They need to have some systematic way to think about their work.” (Related: Testing needs to catch up with agile)But scaling agile beyond the team level is a lot harder than it is implementing it into one department. According to Christine Hudson, solutions manager at Rally (a CA Technologies company), it needs everyone in the entire organization to be involved and on board, and requires a lot of time, money and resources. Organizations may shy away from the approach because of the complexity, but Hudson believes the benefits are worth the risks.“The benefits of agile at scale are beyond exceptional, and the costs of standing still greatly outweigh the costs of adoption,” she said.Are you ready to scale agile?If you want to scale agile, you have to have agile to scale in the first place, according to VersionOne’s Cunningham. He believes it is essential for an organization to have success at the team level before it can move beyond that.last_img read more