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 NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica
05.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | 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: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>