Scientists at the University of Toronto and Ford Motor Company have discovered a new greenhouse gas, according to a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. They say that the new gas is 7,100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 100-year span.
The new gas, named perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), does not occur in nature. Though it is much more scarce in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, researchers say it takes a full 500 years or more to decompose, so each molecule has a compounded potency.
The researchers measured its concentration in the Toronto air and found it to be at 0.18 parts per trillion, far from the current atmospheric CO2 concentration, which is near 400 parts per million. PFTBA is used in many electrical applications, such as making transistors and capacitors, according to The Guardian.