The ozone's recovery may have been overstated, report warns
The ozone's recovery may have been overstated, report warns
Protective ozone layer is recovering but not over populated areas
07 February, 2018, 02:04
As per the new report published on Tuesday in the European Geosciences Union journal Atmosphere, Chemistry and Physics informed that the protective Ozone layer is not recovering at more populated latitude.
Researchers conducted an analysis on 11 different locations and gathered information which helped them create a subtle model of the ozone throughout the last 30 years. Since the 1970s, global ozone has been deteriorating, due to man-made chemicals. Until now, experts have expected that the global ozone layer would completely recover by the middle of the century. The cause is now unknown, Phys.org reports.
Hossaini welcomed the "important" new study, but he argues that the current concentrations of VSLS in the atmosphere are too low to explain the falling ozone in the lower stratosphere. She said ozone had been declining seriously since the 1980s, but while the banning of CFCs was leading to a recovery at the poles, this did not appear to be true for the lower latitudes. Overall, the effects balance out but this means the ozone layer over the area studied is remaining in its depleted state.
Prof Joanna Haigh at Imperial College London and a member of the worldwide research team stated, "The study is in lower to mid-latitudes, where the sunshine is more intense, so that is not a good signal for skin cancer". "The decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted, but UV radiation is more intense in these regions and more people live there", informed Haigh. Researchers had long assumed that VSLSs' short lifetime would keep them from reaching the stratosphere, but a 2015 Nature Geoscience study suggested that the substances may account for as much as 25% of the lower stratosphere's ozone losses. "The impact of the Protocol is undisputed, as evidenced by the trend reversal in the upper stratosphere and at the poles", said Thomas Peter, from ETH Zurich. On the one hand, climate change is modifying the pattern of atmospheric circulation, moving air from the tropics faster and further in the polar direction, so that less ozone is formed (see illustration).
The other possibility is that very short-lived substances (VSLSs), which contain chlorine and bromine, could be destroying ozone in the lower stratosphere.
The reason is not known, but it could be to do with chemicals used in paint stripper which were previously believed to be too volatile to affect the stratosphere. One is even used in the production of an ozone-friendly replacement for CFCs.
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'Very short-lived substances could be the missing factor in these models'.
In the 1970s it came to know that, CFCs was severely affecting and destroying the ozone layer in the stratosphere.
Nevertheless, scientists said these new findings were "concerning but not alarming", as more research now needs to be done in order to monitor and investigate the causes behind the continuing ozone decline in the lower stratosphere.
The researchers say the focus now should be on getting more precise data on the ozone decline, and determining what the cause most likely is, for example by looking for the presence of VSLSs in the stratosphere.
The study was conducted by researchers from institutions in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the USA, Sweden, Canada and Finland, and included data gathered by satellite missions including those by NASA.
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