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 Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>