1Department of Physics, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM, USA
2Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
3Department of Chemistry, University of York, UK
4Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK-7), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
5Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA
Abstract. The lifetimes of CFC-11 and CFC-12 have been evaluated using global observations of their stratospheric distributions from satellite-based instruments over the time period from 1992 to 2010. The chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) datasets are from the Cryogen Limb Array Etalon Spectrometer (CLAES), the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA-1 and CRISTA-2), the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS), and the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE). Stratospheric loss rates were calculated using an ultraviolet radiative transfer code with updated cross section and solar irradiance data. Mean steady-state lifetimes based on these observations are 44.7 (36–58) yr for CFC-11 and 106.6 (90–130) yr for CFC-12, which are in good agreement with the most recent WMO ozone assessment. There are two major sources of error in calculating lifetimes using this method. The first important error arises from uncertainties in tropical stratospheric observations, particularly for CFC-11. Another large contribution to the error is due to uncertainties in the penetration of solar ultraviolet radiation at wavelengths between 185 and 220 nm, primarily in the tropical stratosphere between 20 and 35 km altitude.