The false colors in this image represent levels of carbon monoxide in the lower atmosphere, ranging from about 390 parts per billion (dark brown pixels), to 220 parts per billion (red pixels), to 50 parts per billion (blue pixels).
Those heat transferring abilities do not end when the gas is released into the atmosphere. In fact, perfluorotributylamine does not break down and remains active. This is what makes gives it an alarming potential to spark global warming. While the chemical has been known about for some time, it was not understood to remain in the atmosphere. There are currently no methods for degrading it or extricating it from the lower atmosphere.
The University of Toronto is now conducting a study into the climate impact of the gas. Angela Hong, a scientist in the study, said that over the course of a century, a single PFTBA molecule will do the damage of 7200 CO2 molecules. While the PFTBA is far more conducive to global warming on a molecular basis than carbon-based emissions, carbon emissions are still the chief greenhouse gas by volume.
The findings were published in the online edition of Geophysical Research Letters.