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 New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>