Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Clouds reveal Europe’s ozone future

24.07.2003


Forget blue skies research, it is clouds that have focused minds at the University of Leicester where scientists are tackling the causes of ozone depletion.

Atmospheric scientists in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are spearheading the MAPSCORE project, a European Commission Environment project which investigates a major cause of ozone depletion - high altitude polar clouds which activate the chlorine originally from CFCs and lead eventually to severe ozone destruction.

Leicester researchers have discovered it is possible to map the global distribution of polar clouds from space, and to determine their composition.



For the first time, scientists can see maps of clouds around the globe, via the internet, as soon as the ESA ENVISAT satellite detects them. This knowledge has already been put to good use in examining clouds and ozone loss near Europe during the last winter. Now the Leicester scientists are observing the evolution of the Antarctic ozone hole which last year behaved in a unprecedented fashion and showed that there are still surprises in the ozone story.

University of Leicester scientist Dr John Remedios, who is coordinating the MAPSCORE project, said: “ENVISAT makes it possible for us to map Polar Stratospheric Clouds in ‘near real-time’ for the first time. We have unprecedented detail and can even define the types of cloud that are driving ozone loss. This information guides our atmospheric modelling of how these polar stratospheric clouds form and their influence. This is important because we need to be able to predict how much ozone will be depleted in future years and polar stratospheric clouds are a key part of the problem”.

Clouds form in the polar stratosphere at altitudes of 12-28 km during the cold winter months. Chlorine from CFCs can be released from the surface of the cloud particles, and incident sunlight in the spring stimulates the rapid destruction of ozone by the ‘active’ chlorine in the polar stratospheric clouds. However, the overall occurrence and extent of PSCs in polar winter needs to be quantified, and it is here that ENVISAT’s daily monitoring of the atmosphere is vital as part of a wider effort to tackle this problem.

Dr John Remedios said: “For this reason, we are participating very actively in the latest European Commission campaign, ‘Vintersol’, which rallies over 300 scientists from over 14 European countries to tackle the problem of measuring and understanding the causes of mid-latitude ozone depletion, and to predict future ozone levels.” In the first Arctic phase, the Vintersol study was co-ordinated with a large NASA campaign, SOLVE-2, which gives a measure of the large international scientific effort involved in this work.

Stratospheric ozone levels over Europe have been decreasing at a rate of 6% per decade each spring, allowing more ultra-violet radiation to reach the ground. Information gleaned from the MAPSCORE project concerning ozone depletion by PSCs will enable Vintersol campaign scientists to identify future trends in ozone levels, and determine whether we can expect an increased health risk for Europeans of the future.

The MAPSCORE project is funded by the Environment Programme of the European Commission under Framework V. The Natural Environment Research Council has recently announced a new grant to support the development of the ENVISAT cloud mapping and to help Leicester scientists design a new space instrument which could perform an even better job of monitoring these important clouds.

The ENVISAT satellite is a major ESA mission monitoring the health of the planet.

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections

21.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Smart Computers

21.08.2017 | Information Technology

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>