Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Changes in ozone layer offer hope for improvement, says team of scientists

31.08.2005


Analysis of several different satellite records and surface monitoring instruments indicates that the ozone layer is no longer declining, according to a study by scientists working with the Center for Integrating Statistical and Environmental Science (CISES) at the University of Chicago.



In some parts of the world, the ozone layer has increased a small amount in the past few years, although it still well below normal levels.

The results will be published Aug. 31 in the Journal of Geophysical Research and follow 18 years after an international agreement, the Montreal Protocol, was established to limit the production of chemicals determined to be harmful to the atmosphere.


The work, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, is a collaboration between atmospheric scientists and statisticians through CISES. "The work of this team of scientists and statisticians is widely recognized as some of the most authoritative in the statistical analysis of stratospheric ozone," said Michael Stein, director of CISES at the University of Chicago.

"These early signs indicate one of the strongest success stories of international cooperation in the face of an environmental threat," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

For the past few years, studies have focused on ozone declining in the topmost layer of the atmosphere where there is naturally very little ozone. However, this study addresses the total ozone column layer that has significant impact on how much ultraviolet radiation is coming through the atmosphere, said Betsy Weatherhead of the University of Colorado.

"Our work focuses on the thickness of the ozone layer and is therefore relevant to the amount of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the surface of the Earth," said Weatherhead, a co-author on the paper.

Overexposure to UV radiation can cause an increase in skin cancers and cataracts in the eyes. Scientists warn that skin and eye precautions, such as wearing sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, still need to be taken.

"This news about the ozone layer is encouraging, but people should not get a false sense of security. Ultraviolet radiation is still dangerous and we urge people to be ’sun smart’ when outdoors," said dermatologist Clay J. Cockerell, M.D., president of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Scientists say that ozone in some areas is still quite low compared to historical times and that the return of ozone to normal levels will be slow--likely taking several decades. The chemicals responsible for the ozone depletion can take years to filter up to the stratosphere, where most of the ozone is located, said Weatherhead.

"Some of these chemicals remain in the stratosphere for many decades, meaning that chemicals produced years ago will continue to be harmful for decades to come," said Sherwood Rowland, who, along with Mario Molina and Paul Crutzen, won the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work identifying the threat to the ozone layer.

Other factors can affect the recovery process, such as changes in temperature, clouds, volcanic particles, water vapor, methane, and natural variability. Internationally, scientists continue to work to understand the recent changes and the likely future concentrations of ozone.

The lead author of the study, Greg Reinsel of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was one of the first scientists to quantify the decline in ozone in research papers published more than 20 years ago.

He died unexpectedly after completing this study, the first to show the leveling off of the total ozone layer, Weatherhead said. "The finding of positive signs about the ozone layer represents a bittersweet culmination to over twenty years of effort by Greg and his colleagues," said Michael Stein.

Steve Koppes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting eruptions using satellites and math
28.06.2017 | Frontiers

nachricht NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora
27.06.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>