Maybe a simple question, but if sulfur hexafluoride is 6 times heavier than air then how does it get into the high atmosphere. All be it in low quantities now, but there is a large stock of the stuff in potentially vulnerable and prevalent infrastructure such as substations of the electricity grid. If there was a much larger leak of the chemical than is now observed would we expect it to reach the upper atmosphere to become a dangerous greenhouse gas at that position in the atmosphere... as i understand potent ghg's induce greater warming when high in the atmosphere. Anyone know more about this? its mode of transport there, what activities are getting it up there? Ive done some research on existing and past growing concentrations but wonder if its Global warming potential is dangerous unless it can actually accumulate significantly high in the atmosphere?
Carbon dioxide is heavier than air but is found in nearly equal proportions throughout the well-mixed portion of the atmosphere. Xenon is much heavier than air, almost as heavy as sulfur hexaflouride, but it too is found in nearly equal proportions throughout the well-mixed portion of the atmosphere.
Turbulence is what makes the well-mixed portion of the atmosphere be well-mixed. It is only in the uppermost layers of the atmosphere, where the air is very thin, that turbulence fails to keep things well-mixed. The turbopause, which marks the border between the well-mixed lower portions of the atmosphere and heterogenous upper portions of the atmosphere, is about 100 km above the surface. The stratosphere is only 10 to 50 km above the surface, so it is well within the well-mixed portion of the atmosphere.