Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global warming may delay recovery of stratospheric ozone

05.02.2009
Increasing greenhouse gases could delay, or even postpone indefinitely the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some regions of the Earth, a new study suggests. This change might take a toll on public health.

Darryn W. Waugh, an atmospheric scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his colleagues report that climate change could provoke variations in the circulation of air in the lower stratosphere in tropical and southern mid-latitudes - a band of the Earth including Australia and Brazil.

The circulation changes would cause ozone levels in these areas never to return to levels that were present before decline began, even after ozone-depleting substances have been wiped out from the atmosphere.

"Global warming causes changes in the speed that the air is transported into and through the lower stratosphere [in tropical and southern mid-latitudes]," says Waugh. "You're moving the air through it quicker, so less ozone gets formed." He and his team present their findings in the Feb. 5 Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Dan Lubin, an atmospheric scientist who has studied the relationship between ozone depletion and variations in the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the Earth, says Waugh's findings could bode ill for people living in the tropics and southern mid-latitudes.

If ozone levels never return to pre-1960 levels in those regions, "the risk of skin cancer for fair- skinned populations living in countries like Australia and New Zealand, and probably in Chile and Argentina too, will be greater in the 21st century than it was during the 20th century," says Lubin, who is at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. and did not participate in the research.

Ozone is a gas which is naturally present in the atmosphere and absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the Sun that can harm living beings-for instance, by causing human skin cancer. This protective molecule has been in decline in the stratosphere since the 1970s due to an increase in atmospheric concentrations of human-made substances (mostly chlorofluorocarbon and bromofluorocarbon

compounds) that destroy ozone. Since the late 1980s, most countries have adhered to the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to phase out production of ozone-depleting substances.

Researchers at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. collaborated with Waugh in the new study. The team forecast effects on ozone recovery by means of simulations using a computer model known as the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry-Climate Model.

Not all regions face worse prospects for ozone recovery as a result of climate change, the scientists find.

In polar regions and northern mid-latitudes, restoration of ozone in the lower stratosphere will suffer little impact from increasing greenhouse gases, their projections indicate. Indeed, in the upper stratosphere, climate change causes a drop in temperatures that slows down some of the chemical reactions that destroy ozone. So, recovery might be reached in those parts of the atmosphere earlier than forecast, even decades before the removal of ozone-depleting gases.

While scientists have long suspected that climate change might be altering the dynamics of stratospheric ozone recovery, Waugh's team is the first to estimate the effects of increasing greenhouse gases on the recovery of ozone by region.

Waugh says his study will help scientists attribute ozone variations to the right agent.

"Ozone is going to change in response to both ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases," he says, "If you don't consider climate change when studying the ozone recovery data, you may get pretty confused."

Title:
"Impacts of climate change on stratospheric ozone recovery"
Authors:
Darryn W. Waugh: Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Luke Oman: Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
S. Randy Kawa: Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.
Richard. S. Stolarski: Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.
Steven Pawson: Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.
Anne R. Douglass: Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.
Paul A. Newman: Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.
J. Eric Nielsen: Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA.

Citation:
Waugh, D. W., L. Oman, S. R., Kawa, R. S. Stolarski, S. Pawson, A. R. Douglass, P. A.

Newman, and J. E. Nielsen (2009), Impacts of climate change on stratospheric ozone recovery, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L03805, doi:10.1029/2008GL036223.

Contact information for author:
Darryn W. Waugh: +1 (410) 516-8344, waugh@jhu.edu

Maria-Jose Vinas | American Geophysical Union
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht New mathematical model can help save endangered species
14.01.2019 | University of Southern Denmark

nachricht Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
14.12.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>