February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1, JULY 1988
OZONE LAYER UPDATE
In March the Ozone Trends Panel, a group of 100
experts assembled by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
announced that global concentrations of stratospheric ozone have definitely
decreased over the past seventeen years. The decrease is greatest over the polar
regions, and has been faster than predicted for some times and places. There is
strong evidence that anthropogenic chlorine compounds are involved in the
Antarctic ozone decrease.
At a meeting in Snowmass, Colorado, in May, international scientists
reviewing results of the 1987 Airborne Antarctic Ozone Experiment agreed that
atmospheric transport does not account for the Antarctic ozone hole. However the
large amounts of chlorine monoxide measured there strongly implicated
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in ozone destruction. Also reported was the first
detection of chlorine compounds in the Arctic stratosphere at Thule,
Greenland, in February. NASA plans an airborne expedition to the Arctic
stratosphere next winter. Some criticism of the conclusions of the Ozone Trends
Panel was voiced at the meeting.
The Ozone Trends Panel will meet in September to develop a model of the
chemistry of the stratosphere, intended to explain observations in the Arctic
and Antarctic and predict changes in the ozone layer. The Executive Summary
of the Ozone Trends Panel is available from chairman Robert Watson at NASA
headquarters, Washington, D.C. 20546.
Further details on these developments may be found in the following
"Stratospheric Ozone is Decreasing," R.A. Kerr, Science,
March 25, 1988, 1489-1491. Describes the exhaustive quality control and error
analysis of ozone data carried out by the Panel, and the role of Solar
Backscatter Ultraviolet (SBUV) data analyzed by Donald Heath of NASA. Also
comments on the adequacy of the Montreal Protocol to reduce CFC emissions, in
light of the Panel's conclusions.
"Stratospheric Ozone Decreases Measurably in Northern Hemisphere,
Ozone Report Says," International Environment Reporter, April 13,
1988, p. 209.
"CFCs Cause Part of Global Ozone Decline," D. Lindley, Nature,
March 24, 1988, p. 293.
"Ozone Threat Spreads from the Arctic," F. Pearce, New
Scientist, March 24, 1988, pp. 22-23.
"Dramatic Drop in Global Ozone Layer," R. Monarstersky, Science
News, March 19, 1988, p. 183.
"Evidence of Arctic Ozone Destruction," R.A. Kerr, Science,
May 27, 1988, pp. 1144-1145. Discusses the Thule measurements of chlorine
monoxide that, combined with model results, suggest heterogeneous chemistry on
cloud particles may be involved in the Arctic, but to a lesser extent than in
the Antarctic. One report of satellite data at the Aspen meeting hints at
springtime ozone depletion in the Arctic.
"Studies on Ozone Destruction Expand Beyond Arctic," P.S.
Zurer, Chemical and Engineering News, May 30, 1988, pp. 16-25. A fairly
detailed discussion of the Aspen meeting results on chemistry and meteorology.
Although atmospheric dynamics does not cause the Antarctic ozone hole, it does
create the cold polar vortex that allows cloud particles to form and permit key
heterogeneous reactions involving chlorine compounds. Accompanying the article
are comments on the adequacy of the ozone protection treaty, by the manager of
UNEP's global environmental assessment project, Peter Usher.
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