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Professor Matt Rigby - University of Bristol. Bristol, , GB

Professor Matt Rigby Professor Matt Rigby

Professor in Atmospheric Chemistry | University of Bristol


Exploring the sources of and changes in greenhouse gases, air quality and carbon emissions

Areas of Expertise (10)

Emission Reporting

Banned Substances

Climate Change

Atmospheric Chemistry

Air Quality

Greenhouse Gases

Carbon Emissions

Ozone Depleting Substances

Carbon Reductions

Ozone Depletion


Professor Matt Rigby's work examines sources of greenhouse gas emissions, which involves assessing ongoing atmospheric measurements. He has explored emissions of banned ozone-depleting substances such as CFC-11, and the misreporting of emissions reductions such as for HFC-23, a by-product produced during the production of refrigerants.

Professor Rigby is interested in the emissions processes, transport and chemistry of radiatively important trace gases, ozone-depleting substances and air pollutants. He was previously a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is currently leading the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) project on the Detection and Attribution of Regional greenhouse gas Emissions in the UK (DARE-UK). He has also served as lead author of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.





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Education (2)

Imperial College London: Ph.D., Atmospheric Physics 2007

Cambridge University, Clare College: M.Sci., Experimental and Theoretical Physics 2002

Media Appearances (5)

The chemists policing Earth’s atmosphere for rogue pollution

Nature  online


The newly discovered emissions will not significantly delay recovery of the ozone layer, says Matthew Rigby, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Bristol, UK. “But if they carry on, we could be seeing delays of years or more,” he says.

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Study finds shock rise in levels of potent greenhouse gas

The Guardian  online


Matt Rigby, from Bristol University, who co-authored the study and is a member of the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment, said academics had hoped to see a big reduction following the reports from India and China.

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New CFC emissions, Cannabis and the Environment, The Noisy Cocktail Party, Automated Face Recognition

BBC  online


Dr Matt Rigby of the University of Bristol and the BBC’s Matt McGrath, who has also been following the trail, tell Gareth about the mystery.

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Study Pinpoints Source of Banned Gas That Saps Ozone Layer: Eastern China

New York Times  online


Matt Rigby, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Bristol in Britain and another lead author, said the work benefited from using data from sites relatively close to China. Both monitoring stations are on islands that are only several hundred miles from the Chinese coast. In the 2018 study, the closest data was collected in Hawaii, 5,000 miles away. “The atmosphere is very dispersive, it likes to mix things around quite rapidly,” Dr. Rigby said. “As you get farther away, the picture gets more blurry.”

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Ozone layer: Banned CFCs traced to China say scientists

BBC News  online


"This new study is based on spikes in the data on air that comes from China," lead author Dr Matt Rigby, a reader at the University of Bristol, told BBC Inside Science.

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Articles (5)

Increase in global emissions of HFC-23 despite near-total expected reductions


2020 Under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, new controls are being implemented to reduce emissions of HFC-23 (CHF3), a by-product during the manufacture of HCFC-22 (CHClF2). Starting in 2015, China and India, who dominate global HCFC-22 production (75% in 2017), set out ambitious programs to reduce HFC-23 emissions.

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Increase in CFC-11 emissions from eastern China based on atmospheric observations


2019 The recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer relies on the continued decline in the atmospheric concentrations of ozone-depleting gases such as chlorofluorocarbons. The atmospheric concentration of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11), the second-most abundant chlorofluorocarbon, has declined substantially since the mid-1990s.

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Advancing Scientific Understanding of the Global Methane Budget in Support of the Paris Agreement

Global Biogeochemical Cycles

2019 The 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change aims to keep global average temperature increases well below 2 °C of preindustrial levels in the Year 2100. Vital to its success is achieving a decrease in the abundance of atmospheric methane (CH4), the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas.

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Continued Emissions of the Ozone‐Depleting Substance Carbon Tetrachloride From Eastern Asia


2018 Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is an ozone‐depleting substance, accounting for about 10% of the chlorine in the troposphere. Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, its production for dispersive uses was banned from 2010. In this work we show that, despite the controls on production being introduced, CCl4 emissions from the eastern part of China did not decline between 2009 and 2016.

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Rapid increase in ozone-depleting chloroform emissions from China

Nature Geoscience

2018 Chloroform contributes to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. However, due to its short lifetime and predominantly natural sources, it is not included in the Montreal Protocol that regulates the production and uses of ozone-depleting substances. Atmospheric chloroform mole fractions were relatively stable or slowly decreased during 1990–2010.

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