Subject: TABLE OF CONTENTS
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. THE STRATOSPHERE
1.1) What is the stratosphere?
1.2) How is the composition of air described?
1.3) How does the composition of the atmosphere change with
2. THE OZONE LAYER
2.1) How is ozone created?
2.2) How much ozone is in the layer, and what is a
2.3) How is ozone distributed in the stratosphere?
2.4) How does the ozone layer work?
2.5) What sorts of natural variations does the ozone layer show?
2.5.a) Regional and Seasonal Variation
2.5.b) Year-to-year variations.
2.6) What are CFC’s?
2.7) How do CFC’s destroy ozone?
2.8) What is an Ozone Depletion Potential?
2.9) What about HCFC’s and HFC’s? Do they destroy ozone?
2.10) *IS* the ozone layer getting thinner?
2.11) Is the middle-latitude ozone loss due to CFC emissions?
2.12) If the ozone is lost, won’t the UV light just penetrate
2.13) Do Space Shuttle launches damage the ozone layer?
2.14) Will commercial supersonic aircraft damage the ozone layer?
2.15) What is being done about ozone depletion?
3. REFERENCES FOR PART I
Books and Review Articles
More Specialized References
Subject: 1. THE STRATOSPHERE
Subject: 1.1) What is the stratosphere?
The stratosphere extends from about 15 km to 50 km. In the
stratosphere temperature _increases_ with altitude, due to the
absorption of UV light by oxygen and ozone. This creates a global
inversion layer which impedes vertical motion into and within
the stratosphere – since warmer air lies above colder air, convection
is inhibited. The word stratosphere is related to the word
stratification or layering.
The stratosphere is often compared to the troposphere, which is
the atmosphere below about 15 km. The boundary – called the
tropopause – between these regions is quite sharp, but its
precise location varies between ~9 and ~18 km, depending upon
latitude and season. The prefix tropo refers to change: the
troposphere is the part of the atmosphere in which weather occurs.
This results in rapid mixing of tropospheric air.
Above the stratosphere lie the mesosphere, ranging from ~50 to
~100 km, in which temperature decreases with altitude; the
thermosphere, ~100-400 km, in which temperature increases
with altitude again, and the exosphere, beyond ~400 km, which
fades into the background of interplanetary space. In the upper
mesosphere and thermosphere electrons and ions are abundant, so
these regions are also referred to as the ionosphere. In technical
literature the term lower atmosphere is synonymous with the
troposphere, middle atmosphere refers to the stratosphere
and mesosphere, while upper atmosphere is usually reserved for the
thermosphere and exosphere. This usage is not universal, however,
and one occasionally sees the term upper atmosphere used to
describe everything above the troposphere (for example, in NASA’s
Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, UARS.)
Subject: 1.2) How is the composition of air described?
(Or, what is a ‘mixing ratio’?)
The density of the air in the atmosphere depends upon altitude, and
in a complicated way because the temperature also varies with
altitude. It is therefore awkward to report concentrations of
atmospheric species in units like g/cc or molecules/cc. Instead,
it is convenient to report the mole fraction, the relative
number of molecules of a given type in an air sample. Atmospheric
scientists usually call a mole fraction a mixing ratio. Typical
units for mixing ratios are parts-per-million, billion, or
trillion by volume, designated as ppmv, ppbv, and pptv
respectively. (The expression by volume reflects Avogadro’s Law –
for an ideal gas mixture, equal volumes contain equal numbers of
molecules – and serves to distinguish mixing ratios from mass
fractions which are given as parts-per-million by weight.) Thus
when someone says the mixing ratio of hydrogen chloride at 3 km
is 0.1 ppbv, he means that 1 out of every 10 billion molecules in
an air sample collected at that altitude will be an HCl molecule.
Subject: 1.3) How does the composition of the atmosphere change with
altitude? (Or, how can CFC’s get up to the stratosphere
when they are heavier than air?)
In the earth’s troposphere and stratosphere, most _stable_ chemical
species are well-mixed – their mixing ratios are independent of
altitude. If a species’ mixing ratio changes with altitude, some
kind of physical or chemical transformation is taking place. That
last statement may seem surprising – one might expect the heavier
molecules to dominate at lower altitudes. The mixing ratio of
Krypton (mass 84), then, would decrease with altitude, while that
of Helium (mass 4) would increase. In reality, however, molecules
do not segregate by weight in the troposphere or stratosphere.
The relative proportions of Helium, Nitrogen, and Krypton are
unchanged up to about 100 km.
Why is this? Vertical transport in the troposphere takes place by
convection and turbulent mixing. In the stratosphere and in the
mesosphere, it takes place by eddy diffusion – the gradual mechanical
mixing of gas by motions on small scales. These mechanisms do not
distinguish molecular masses. Only at much higher altitudes do mean
free paths become so large that _molecular_ diffusion dominates and
gravity is able to separate the different species, bringing hydrogen
and helium atoms to the top. The lower and middle atmosphere are thus
said to be well mixed.
Experimental measurements of the fluorocarbon CF4 demonstrate this
homogeneous mixing. CF4 has an extremely long lifetime in the
stratosphere – probably many thousands of years. The mixing ratio
of CF4 in the stratosphere was found to be 0.056-0.060 ppbv
from 10-50 km, with no overall trend.
An important trace gas that is *not* well-mixed is water vapor. The
lower troposphere contains a great deal of water – as much as 30,000
ppmv in humid tropical latitudes. High in the troposphere, however,
the water condenses and falls to the earth as rain or snow, so that
the stratosphere is extremely dry, typical mixing ratios being about
5 ppmv. Indeed, the transport of water vapor from troposphere to
stratosphere is even less efficient than this would suggest, since
much of the small amount of water in the stratosphere is actually
produced _in situ_ by the oxidation of stratospheric methane.
Sometimes that part of the atmosphere in which the chemical
composition of stable species does not change with altitude is
called the homosphere. The homosphere includes the troposphere,
stratosphere, and mesosphere. The upper regions of the atmosphere
– the thermosphere and the exosphere – are then referred to as
Subject: 2. THE OZONE LAYER
Subject: 2.1) How is ozone created?
Ozone is formed naturally in the upper stratosphere by short
wavelength ultraviolet radiation. Wavelengths less than ~240
nanometers are absorbed by oxygen molecules (O2), which dissociate to
give O atoms. The O atoms combine with other oxygen molecules to
O2 + hv -* O + O (wavelength * 240 nm)
O + O2 -* O3
Subject: 2.2) How much ozone is in the layer, and what is a
Dobson Unit ?
A Dobson Unit (DU) is a convenient scale for measuring the total
amount of ozone occupying a column overhead. If the ozone layer
over the US were compressed to 0 degrees Celsius and 1 atmosphere
pressure, it would be about 3 mm thick. So, 0.01 mm thickness at
0 C and 1 at is defined to be 1 DU; this makes the average thickness
of the ozone layer over the US come out to be about 300 DU.
In absolute terms, 1 DU is about 2.7 x 10^16 molecules/cm^2.
The unit is named after G.M.B. Dobson, who carried out pioneering
studies of atmospheric ozone between ~1920-1960. Dobson designed
the standard instrument used to measure ozone from the ground. The
Dobson spectrophotometer measures the intensity solar UV radiation at
four wavelengths, two of which are absorbed by ozone and two of
which are not . These instruments are still in use
in many places, although they are gradually being replaced by the more
elaborate Brewer spectrophotometers. Today ozone is measured in many
ways, from aircraft, balloons, satellites, and space shuttle missions,
but the worldwide Dobson network is the only source of long-term data.
A station at Arosa in Switzerland has been measuring ozone since the
1920’s (see http://www.umnw.ethz.ch/LAPETH/doc/totozon.html)
and some other stations have records that go back nearly as
long, although many were interrupted during World War II. The
present worldwide network went into operation in 1956-57.
Subject: 2.3) How is ozone distributed in the stratosphere?
In absolute terms: about 10^12 molecules/cm^3 at 15 km, rising to
nearly 10^13 at 25 km, then falling to 10^11 at 45 km.
In relative terms: ~0.5 parts per million by volume (ppmv) at 15 km,
rising to ~8 ppmv at ~35 km, falling to ~3 ppmv at 45 km.
Even in the thickest part of the layer, ozone is a trace gas. In all,
there are about 3 billion metric tons, or 3×10^15 grams, of ozone in
the earth’s atmosphere; about 90% of this is in the stratosphere.
Subject: 2.4) How does the ozone layer work?
UV light with wavelengths between 240 and 320 nm is absorbed by
ozone, which then falls apart to give an O atom and an O2 molecule.
The O atom soon encounters another O2 molecule, however (at all times,
the concentration of O2 far exceeds that of O3), and recreates O3:
O3 + hv -* O2 + O
O + O2 -* O3
Thus _ozone absorbs UV radiation without itself being consumed_;
the net result is to convert UV light into heat. Indeed, this is
what causes the temperature of the stratosphere to increase with
altitude, giving rise to the inversion layer that traps molecules in
the troposphere. The ozone layer isn’t just _in_ the stratosphere; the
ozone layer actually determines the form of the stratosphere.
Ozone _is_ destroyed if an O atom and an O3 molecule meet:
O + O3 -* 2 O2 (recombination).
This reaction is slow, however, and if it were the only mechanism
for ozone loss, the ozone layer would be about twice as thick
as it is. Certain trace species, such as the oxides of Nitrogen (NO
and NO2), Hydrogen (H, OH, and HO2) and chlorine (Cl, ClO and ClO2)
can catalyze the recombination. The present ozone layer is a
result of a competition between photolysis and recombination;
increasing the recombination rate, by increasing the
concentration of catalysts, results in a thinner ozone layer.
Putting the pieces together, we have the set of reactions proposed
in the 1930’s by Sidney Chapman:
O2 + hv -* O + O (wavelength * 240 nm) : creation of oxygen atoms
O + O2 -* O3 : formation of ozone
O3 + hv -* O2 + O (wavelength * 320 nm) : absorption of UV by ozone
O + O3 -* 2 O2 : recombination .
Since the photolysis of O2 requires UV radiation while
recombination does not, one might guess that ozone should increase
during the day and decrease at night. This has led some people to
suggest that the antarctic ozone hole is merely a result of the
long antarctic winter nights. This inference is incorrect, because
the recombination reaction requires oxygen atoms which are also
produced by photolysis. Throughout the stratosphere the concentration
of O atoms is orders of magnitude smaller than the concentration of
O3 molecules, so both the production and the destruction of ozone by
the above mechanisms shut down at night. In fact, the thickness of the
ozone layer varies very little from day to night, and above 70 km
ozone concentrations actually _increase_ at night.
(The unusual catalytic cycles that operate in the antarctic ozone
hole do not require O atoms; however, they still require light to
operate because they also include photolytic steps. See Part III.)
Subject: 2.5) What sorts of natural variations does the ozone layer show?
There are substantial variations from place to place, and from
season to season. There are smaller variations on time scales of
years and more. We discuss these in turn.
Subject: 2.5.a) Regional and Seasonal Variation
Since solar radiation makes ozone, one expects to see the
thickness of the ozone layer vary during the year. This is so,
although the details do not depend simply upon the amount of solar
radiation received at a given latitude and season – one must also
take atmospheric motions into account. (Remember that
both production and destruction of ozone require solar radiation.)
The ozone layer is thinnest in the tropics, about 260 DU, almost
independent of season. Away from the tropics seasonal variations
become important. For example:
Location Column thickness, Dobson Units
Jan Apr Jul Oct
Huancayo, Peru (12 degrees S) : 255 255 260 260
Aspendale, Australia (38 deg. S): 300 280 335 360
Arosa, Switzerland (47 deg. N): 335 375 320 280
St. Petersburg, Russia (60 deg. N): 360 425 345 300
These are monthly averages. Interannual standard deviations amount
to ~5 DU for Huancayo, 25 DU for St. Petersburg. .
Day-to-day fluctuations can be quite large (as much as 60 DU at high
latitudes). Notice that the highest ozone levels are found in the
_spring_, not, as one might guess, in summer, and the lowest in the
fall, not winter. Indeed, at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere
there is more ozone in January than in July! Most of the ozone is
created over the tropics, and then is carried to higher latitudes
by prevailing winds (the general circulation of the stratosphere.)
The antarctic ozone hole, discussed in detail in Part III, falls
far outside this range of natural variation. Mean October ozone
at Halley Bay on the Antarctic coast was 117 DU in 1993, down
from 321 DU in 1956.
Subject: 2.5.b) Year-to-year variations.
Since ozone is created by solar UV radiation, one expects to see
some correlation with the 11-year solar sunspot cycle. Higher
sunspot activity corresponds to more solar UV and hence more rapid
ozone production. This correlation has been verified, although
its effect is small, about 2% from peak to trough averaged over the
earth, about 4% in polar regions.
Another natural cycle is connected with the quasibiennial
oscillation, in which tropical winds in the lower stratosphere
switch from easterly to westerly with a period of about two years.
This leads to variations of the order of 3% at a given latitude,
although the effect tends to cancel when one averages over the
Episodes of unusual solar activity (solar proton events) can also
influence ozone levels, by producing nitrogen oxides in the upper
stratosphere and mesosphere. This can have a marked, though
short-lived, effect on ozone _concentrations_ at very high altitudes,
but the effect on total column ozone is usually small since most of
the ozone is found in the lower and middle stratosphere. Ozone can
also be depleted by a major volcanic eruption, such as El Chichon in
1982 or Pinatubo in 1991. The principal mechanism for this is _not_
injection of chlorine into the stratosphere, as discussed in Part II,
but rather the injection of sulfate aerosols which change the
radiation balance in the stratosphere by scattering light, and which
convert inactive chlorine compounds to active, ozone-destroying forms.
. This too is a transient effect, lasting 2-3 years.
Subject: 2.6) What are CFC’s?
CFC’s – ChloroFluoroCarbons – are a class of volatile organic compounds
that have been used as refrigerants, aerosol propellants, foam blowing
agents, and as solvents in the electronic industry. They are chemically
very unreactive, and hence safe to work with. In fact, they are so inert
that the natural reagents that remove most atmospheric pollutants do not
react with them, so after many years they drift up to the stratosphere
where short-wave UV light dissociates them. CFC’s were invented in 1928,
but only came into large-scale production after ~1950. Since that year,
the total amount of chlorine in the stratosphere has increased by
a factor of 4.
The most important CFC’s for ozone depletion are:
Trichlorofluoromethane, CFCl3 (usually called CFC-11 or R-11);
Dichlorodifluoromethane, CF2Cl2 (CFC-12 or R-12); and
1,1,2 Trichlorotrifluoroethane, CF2ClCFCl2 (CFC-113 or R-113).
R stands for refrigerant. One occasionally sees CFC-12 referred
to as F-12, and so forth; theF stands for Freon, DuPont’s trade
name for these compounds.
In discussing ozone depletion, CFC is occasionally used to
describe a somewhat broader class of chlorine-containing organic
compounds that have similar properties – unreactive in the
troposphere, but readily photolyzed in the stratosphere. These include:
HydroChloroFluoroCarbons such as CHClF2 (HCFC-22, R-22);
Carbon Tetrachloride (tetrachloromethane), CCl4;
Methyl Chloroform (1,1,1 trichloroethane), CH3CCl3 (R-140a);
and Methyl Chloride (chloromethane), CH3Cl.
(The more careful publications always use phrases like CFC’s and
related compounds, but this gets tedious.)
Only methyl chloride has a large natural source; it is produced
biologically in the oceans and chemically from biomass burning.
The CFC’s and CCl4 are nearly inert in the troposphere, and have
lifetimes of 50-200+ years. Their major sink is photolysis by UV
radiation. The hydrogen-containing halocarbons
are more reactive, and are removed in the troposphere by reactions
with OH radicals. This process is slow, however, and they live long
enough (1-20 years) for a substantia fraction to reach the stratosphere.
Most of Part II is devoted to stratospheric chlorine chemistry;
look there for more detail.
Subject: 2.7) How do CFC’s destroy ozone?
CFC’s themselves do not destroy ozone; certain of their decay products
do. After CFC’s are photolyzed, most of the chlorine eventually ends
up as Hydrogen Chloride, HCl, or Chlorine Nitrate, ClONO2. These are
called reservoir species – they do not themselves react with ozone.
However, they do decompose to some extent, giving, among other things,
a small amount of atomic chlorine, Cl, and Chlorine Monoxide, ClO,
which can catalyze the destruction of ozone by a number of mechanisms.
The simplest is:
Cl + O3 -* ClO + O2
ClO + O -* Cl + O2
Net effect: O3 + O -* 2 O2
Note that the Cl atom is a _catalyst_ – it is not consumed by the
reaction. Each Cl atom introduced into the stratosphere can
destroy thousands of ozone molecules before it is removed.
The process is even more dramatic for Bromine – it has no stable
reservoirs, so the Br atom is always available to destroy ozone.
On a per-atom basis, Br is 10-100 times as destructive as Cl.
On the other hand, chlorine and bromine concentrations in
the stratosphere are very small in absolute terms. The mixing ratio
of chlorine from all sources in the stratosphere is about 3 parts
per billion, (most of which is in the form of CFC’s that have not
yet fully decomposed) whereas ozone mixing ratios are measured in
parts per million. Bromine concentrations are about 100 times
smaller still. (See Part II.)
The complete chemistry is very complicated – more than 100
distinct species are involved. The rate of ozone destruction at any
given time and place depends strongly upon how much Cl is present
as Cl or ClO, and thus upon the rate at which Cl is released from
its reservoirs. This makes quantitative _predictions_ of future
ozone depletion difficult.
The catalytic destruction of ozone by Cl-containing radicals was first
suggested by Richard Stolarski and Ralph Cicerone in 1973. However,
they were not aware of any large sources of stratospheric chlorine.
In 1974 F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina realized that CFC’s
provided such a source.
For this and for their many subsequent contributions to stratospheric
ozone chemistry Rowland and Molina shared the 1995 Nobel
Prize in Chemistry, together with Paul Crutzen, discoverer of the NOx
cycle. (The official announcement from the Swedish Academy can be found
on the web at http://www.nobel.se/announcement95-chemistry.html .)
Subject: 2.8) What is an Ozone Depletion Potential?
The ozone depletion potential (ODP) of a compound is a simple measure of
its ability to destroy stratospheric ozone. It is a relative measure:
the ODP of CFC-11 is defined to be 1.0, and the ODP’s of other compounds
are calculated with respect to this reference point. Thus a compound with
an ODP of 0.2 is, roughly speaking, one-fifth as bad as CFC-11.
More precisely, the ODP of a compound x is defined as the ratio of
the total amount of ozone destroyed by a fixed amount of compound x to
the amount of ozone destroyed by the same mass of CFC-11:
Global loss of Ozone due to x
ODP(x) == ———————————
Global loss of ozone due to CFC-11.
Thus the ODP of CFC-11 is 1.0 by definition. The right-hand side of
the equation is calculated by combining information from laboratory
and field measurements with atmospheric chemistry and tranport models.
Since the ODP is a relative measure, it is fairly robust, not overly
sensitive to changes in the input data or to the details of the model
calculations. That is, there are many uncertainties in calculating the
numerator or the denominator of the expression, but most of these
cancel out when the ratio is calculated.
The nature of the halogen (bromine-containing halocarbons usually
have much higher ODPs than chlorocarbons, because atom for atom Br
is a more effective ozone-destruction catalyst than Cl.)
The number of chlorine or bromine atoms in a molecule.
Molecular Mass (since ODP is defined by comparing equal masses
rather than equal numbers of moles.)
Atmospheric lifetime (CH3CCl3 has a lower ODP than CFC-11, because
much of the CH3CCl3 is destroyed in the troposphere.)
The ODP as defined above is a steady-state or long-term property. As
such it can be misleading when one considers the possible effects of CFC
replacements. Many of the proposed replacements have short atmospheric
lifetimes, which in general is good; however, if a compound has a short
_stratospheric_ lifetime, it will release its chlorine or bromine atoms
more quickly than a compound with a longer stratospheric lifetime. Thus
the short term effect of such a compound on the ozone layer is larger
than would be predicted from the ODP alone (and the long-term effect
correspondingly smaller.)(The ideal combination would be a short
tropospheric lifetime, since those molecules which are destroyed in the
troposphere don’t get a chance to destroy any stratospheric ozone,
combined with a long stratospheric lifetime.) To get around this, the
concept of a Time-Dependent Ozone Depletion Potential has been
Loss of ozone due to X over time period T
ODP(x,T) == ———————————————-
Loss of ozone due to CFC-11 over time period T
As T-*infinity, this converges to the steady-state ODP defined previously.
The following table lists time-dependent and steady-state ODP’s for
a few halocarbons
Compound Formula Ozone Depletion Potential
10 yr 30 yr 100 yr Steady State
CFC-113 CF2ClCFCl2 0.56 0.62 0.78 1.10
carbon tetrachloride CCl4 1.25 1.22 1.14 1.08
methyl chloroform CH3CCl3 0.75 0.32 0.15 0.12
HCFC-22 CHF2Cl 0.17 0.12 0.07 0.05
Halon – 1301 CF3Br 10.4 10.7 11.5 12.5
Subject: 2.9) What about HCFC’s and HFC’s? Do they destroy ozone?
HCFC’s (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) differ from CFC’s in that only
some, rather than all, of the hydrogen in the parent hydrocarbon
has been replaced by chlorine or fluorine. The most familiar
example is CHClF2, known as HCFC-22, used as a refrigerant and
in many home air conditioners (auto air conditioners use CFC-12).
The hydrogen atom makes the molecule susceptible to attack by the
hydroxyl (OH) radical, so a large fraction of the HCFC’s are
destroyed before they reach the stratosphere. Molecule for
molecule, then, HCFC’s destroy much less ozone than CFC’s, and
they were suggested as CFC substitutes as long ago as 1976.
Most HCFC’s have ozone depletion potentials around 0.01-0.1, so that
during its lifetime a typical HCFC will have destroyed 1-10% as
much ozone as the same amount of CFC-12. Since the HCFC’s are more
reactive in the troposphere, fewer of them reach the stratosphere.
However, they are also more reactive in the stratosphere, so they
release chlorine more quickly. The short-term effects are therefore
larger than one would predict from the steady-state ozone depletion
potential. When evaluating substitutes for CFC’s, the time-dependent
ozone depletion potential, discussed in the preceding section,
is more useful than the steady-state ODP.
HFC’s, hydrofluorocarbons, contain no chlorine at all, and hence
have an ozone depletion potential of zero. (In 1993 there were
tentative reports that the fluorocarbon radicals produced by
photolysis of HFC’s could catalyze ozone loss, but this has now
been shown to be negligible ) A familiar
example is CF3CH2F, known as HFC-134a, which is being used in some
automobile air conditioners and refrigerators. HFC-134a is more
expensive and more difficult to work with than CFC’s, and while it
has no effect on stratospheric ozone it is a greenhouse gas (though
somewhat less potent than the CFC’s). Some engineers have argued
that non-CFC fluids, such as propane-isobutane mixtures, are better
substitutes for CFC-12 in auto air conditioners than HFC-134a.
Subject: 2.10) *IS* the ozone layer getting thinner?
There is no question that the ozone layer over antarctica has thinned
dramatically over the past 15 years (see part III). However, most of
us are more interested in whether this is also taking place at
middle latitudes. The answer seems to be yes, although so far the
effect are small.
After carefully accounting for all of the known natural variations,
a net decrease of about 3% per decade for the period 1978-1991
was found. This is a global average over latitudes from 66 degrees
S to 66 degrees N (i.e. the arctic and antarctic are excluded in
calculating the average). The depletion increases with latitude,
and is somewhat larger in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the US, Europe
and Australia 4% per decade is typical; on the other hand there was
no significant ozone loss in the tropics during this period. (See,
however, for more recent trends which appear to
show a decline in some tropical stations.) The depletion is larger in
the winter months, smaller in the summer.
The following table, extracted from a much more detailed one in
, illustrates the seasonal and regional trends in
_percent per decade_ for the period 1979-1990:
Latitude Jan Apr Jul Oct Example
65 N -3.0 -6.6 -3.8 -5.6 Iceland
55 N -4.6 -6.7 -3.1 -4.4 Moscow, Russia
45 N -7.0 -6.8 -2.4 -3.1 Minneapolis, USA
35 N -7.3 -4.7 -1.9 -1.6 Tokyo
25 N -4.2 -2.9 -1.0 -0.8 Miami, FL, USA
5 N -0.1 +1.0 -0.1 +1.3 Somalia
5 S +0.2 +1.0 -0.2 +1.3 New Guinea
25 S -2.1 -1.6 -1.6 -1.1 Pretoria, S. Africa
35 S -3.6 -3.2 -4.5 -2.6 Buenos Aires
45 S -4.8 -4.2 -7.7 -4.4 New Zealand
55 S -6.1 -5.6 -9.8 -9.7 Tierra del Fuego
65 S -6.0 -8.6 -13.1 -19.5 Palmer Peninsula
(These are longitudinally averaged satellite data, not individual
measurements at the places listed in the right-hand column. There
are longitudinal trends as well. A recent reanalysis of the
TOMS data yields trends that differ in detail from the above,
being somewhat smaller at the highest latitudes. . )
It should be noted that one high-latitude ground station (Tromso
in Norway) has found no long-term change in total ozone change
between 1939 and 1989.
The reason for the discrepancy is not known.
Between 1991 and 1993 these trends accelerated. Satellite and
ground-based measurements showed a remarkable decline for 1992 and
early 1993, a full 4% below the average value for the preceding twelve
years and 2-3% below the _lowest_ values observed in the earlier
period. In Canada the spring ozone levels were 11-17% below normal
. By February 1994 ozone over the United States had
recovered to levels similar to 1991, and in the
spring of 1995 they were down again, to levels lower than any previous
year other than 1993. Sulfate aerosols from the
July 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo are the most likely cause of the
exceptionally low ozone in 1993; these aerosols can convert inactive
reservoir chlorine into active ozone-destroying forms, and can also
interfere with the production and transport of ozone by changing the
solar radiation balance in the stratosphere.
Another cause may be the unusually strong arctic polar vortex in
1992-93, which made the arctic stratosphere more like the antarctic
than is usually the case. In any
event, the rapid ozone loss in 1992 and 1993 was a transient phenomenon,
superimposed upon the slower downward trend identified before 1991.
Subject: 2.11) Is the middle-latitude ozone loss due to CFC emissions?
That’s the majority opinion, although it’s not a universal opinion.
The present trends are too small and the atmospheric chemistry and
dynamics too complicated to allow a watertight case to be
made (as _has_ been made for the far larger, but localized, depletion
in the Antarctic Ozone hole; see Part III.). Other possible causes
are being investigated. To quote from the 1991 Scientific Assessment
published by the World Meteorological Organization, p. 4.1 :
The primary cause of the Antarctic ozone hole is firmly
established to be halogen chemistry….There is not a full
accounting of the observed downward trend in _global ozone_.
Plausible mechanisms include heterogeneous chemistry on sulfate
aerosols and the transport of chemically perturbed polar air to middle
latitudes. Although other mechanisms cannot be ruled out, those
involving the catalytic destruction of ozone by chlorine and
bromine appear to be largely responsible for the ozone loss and
_are the only ones for which direct evidence exists_.
(emphases mine – RP)
The Executive Summary of the subsequent 1994 scientific assessment
(available on the Web at http://www.al.noaa.gov/WWWHD/pubdocs/WMOUNEP94.html)
Direct in-situ meaurements of radical species in the lower
stratosphere, coupled with model calculations, have quantitatively shown
that the in-situ photochemical loss of ozone due to (largely natural)
reactive nitrogen (NOx) compounds is smaller than that predicted from
gas-phase chemistry, while that due to (largely natural) HOx compounds
and (largely anthropogenic) chlorine and bromine compounds is larger
than that predicted by gas-phase chemistry. This confirms the key role
of chemical reactions on sulfate aerosols in controlling the chemical
balance of the lower stratosphere. These and other recent scientific
findings strengthen the conclusion of the previous assessment that the
weight of scientific evidence suggests that the observed middle- and
high-latitude ozone losses are largely due to anthropogenic chlorine and
For a contrasting view, see .
A legal analogy might be useful here – the connection between
_antarctic_ ozone depletion and CFC emissions has been proved beyond
a reasonable doubt, while at _middle latitudes_ there is only
probable cause for such a connection.
One must remember that there is a natural 10-20 year time lag
between CFC emissions and ozone depletion. Ozone depletion today is
(probably) due to CFC emissions in the 1970’s. Present
controls on CFC emissions are designed to avoid possibly large
amounts of ozone depletion 30 years from now, not to repair the
depletion that has taken place up to now.
Subject: 2.12) If the ozone is lost, won’t the UV light just penetrate
deeper into the atmosphere and make more ozone?
This does happen to some extent – it’s called self-healing – and
has the effect of moving ozone from the upper to the lower
stratosphere. Recall that ozone is _created_ by UV with wavelengths
less than 240 nm, but functions by _absorbing_ UV with wavelengths
greater than 240 nm. The peak of the ozone absorption band is at ~250
nm, and the cross-section falls off at shorter wavelengths. The O2
and O3 absorption bands do overlap, though, and UV radiation between
200 and 240 nm has a good chance of being absorbed by _either_ O2 or
O3. (Below 200 nm the O2 absorption
cross-section increases dramatically, and O3 absorption is
insignificant in comparison.) Since there is some overlap, a decrease
in ozone does lead to a small increase in absorption by O2. This is a
weak feedback, however, and it does not compensate for the ozone
destroyed. Negative feedback need not imply stability, just as
positive feedback need not imply instability.
Numerical calculations of ozone depletion take the self-healing
phenomenon into account, by letting the perturbed ozone layer come
into equilibrium with the exciting radiation.
Subject: 2.13) Do Space Shuttle launches damage the ozone layer?
Very little. In the early 1970’s, when little was known about
the role of chlorine radicals in ozone depletion, it was suggested
that HCl from solid rocket motors might have a significant effect
upon the ozone layer – if not globally, perhaps in the immediate
vicinity of the launch. It was immediately shown that the effect
was negligible, and this has been repeatedly demonstrated since.
Each shuttle launch produces about 200 metric tons of chlorine as
HCl, of which about one-third, or 68 tons, is injected into the
stratosphere. Its residence time there is about three years. A
full year’s schedule of shuttle and solid rocket launches injects
725 tons of chlorine into the stratosphere. This is negligible compared
to chlorine emissions in the form of CFC’s and related compounds
(~1 million tons/yr in the 1980’s, of which ~0.3 Mt reach the
stratosphere each year). It is also small in comparison to natural
sources of stratospheric chlorine, which amount to about 75,000 tons
See also the sci.space FAQ, Part 10, Controversial Questions,
available by anonymous ftp from rtfm.mit.edu in the directory
pub/usenet/news.answers/space/controversy, and on the world-wide web at:
Subject: 2.14) Will commercial supersonic aircraft damage the ozone layer?
Short answer: Probably not. This problem is very complicated,
and a definitive answer will not be available for several years,
but present model calculations indicate that a fleet of high-speed
civil transports would deplete the ozone layer by * 2%.
Long answer (this is a tough one):
Supersonic aircraft fly in the stratosphere. Since vertical transport
in the stratosphere is slow, the exhaust gases from a supersonic jet
can stay there for two years or more. The most important exhaust gases
are the nitrogen oxides, NO and NO2, collectively referred to as NOx.
NOx is produced from ordinary nitrogen and oxygen by electrical
discharges (e.g. lightning) and by high-temperature combustion (e.g. in
automobile and aircraft engines).
The relationship between NOx and ozone is complicated. In the
troposphere, NOx _makes_ ozone, a phenomenon well known to residents
of Los Angeles and other cities beset by photochemical smog. At high
altitudes in the troposphere, similar chemical reactions produce ozone
as a byproduct of the oxidation of methane; for this reason ordinary
subsonic aircraft actually increase the thickness of the ozone layer
by a very small amount.
Things are very different in the stratosphere. Here the principal
source of NOx is nitrous oxide, N2O (laughing gas). Most of the
N2O in the atmosphere comes from bacteriological decomposition of
organic matter – reduction of nitrate ions or oxidation of ammonium
ions. (It was once assumed that anthropogenic sources were negligible
in comparison, but this is now known to be false. The total
anthropogenic contribution is estimated at 8 Tg (teragrams)/yr,
compared to a natural source of 18 Tg/yr. .)
N2O, unlike NOx, is very unreactive – it has an atmospheric lifetime
of more than 150 years – so it reaches the stratosphere, where most of
it is converted to nitrogen and oxygen by UV photolysis. However, a
small fraction of the N2O that reaches the stratosphere reacts instead
with oxygen atoms (to be precise, with the very rare electronically
excited singlet-D oxygen atoms), and this is the major natural source
of NOx in the stratosphere; about 1.2 million tons are produced each
year in this way. This source strength would be matched by 500 of the
SST’s designed by Boeing in the late 1960’s, each spending 5 hours per
day in the stratosphere. (Boeing was intending to sell 800 of these
aircraft.) The Concorde, a slower plane, produces less than half as
much NOx and flies at a lower altitude; since the Concorde fleet is
small, its contribution to stratospheric NOx is not significant. Before
sending large fleets of high-speed aircraft into the stratosphere,
however, one should certainly consider the possible effects of
increasing the rate of production of an important stratospheric trace
gas by as much as a factor of two.
In 1969, Paul Crutzen discovered that NOx could be an efficient
catalyst for the destruction of stratospheric ozone:
NO + O3 -* NO2 + O2
NO2 + O -* NO + O2
net: O3 + O -* 2 O2
(For this and other contributions to ozone research, Crutzen,
together with Rowland and Molina, was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize
in Chemistry. The official announcement from the Swedish Academy is
available at http://www.nobel.se/announcement95-chemistry.html .)
Two years later, Harold S. Johnston made the connection to SST
emissions. Until then it had been thought that the radicals H, OH,
and HO2 (referred to collectively as HOx) were the principal
catalysts for ozone loss; thus, investigations of the impact of
aircraft exhaust on stratospheric ozone had focussed on emissions of
water vapor, a possible source for these radicals. (The importance of
chlorine radicals, Cl, ClO, and ClO2, referred to as – you guessed it
– ClOx, was not discovered until 1973.) It had been argued –
correctly, as it turns out – that water vapor injection was
unimportant for determining the ozone balance. The discovery of
the NOx cycle threw the question open again.
Beginning in 1972, the U.S. National Academies of Science and
Engineering and the Department of Transportation sponsored an
intensive program of stratospheric research. It soon
became clear that the relationship between NOx emissions and the
ozone layer was very complicated. The stratospheric lifetime of
NOx is comparable to the timescale for transport from North to
South, so its concentration depends strongly upon latitude. Much
of the NOx is injected near the tropopause, a region where
quantitative modelling is very difficult, and the results of
calculations depend sensitively upon how troposphere-stratosphere
exchange is treated. Stratospheric NOx chemistry is _extremely_
complicated, much worse than chlorine chemistry. Among other
things, NO2 reacts rapidly with ClO, forming the inactive chlorine
reservoir ClONO2 – so while on the one hand increasing NOx leads
directly to ozone loss, on the other it suppresses the action
of the more potent chlorine catalyst. And on top of all of this, the
SST’s always spend part of their time in the troposphere, where NOx
emissions cause ozone increases. Estimates of long-term ozone
changes due to large-scale NOx emissions varied markedly from year
to year, going from -10% in 1974, to +2% (i.e. a net ozone _gain_)
in 1979, to -8% in 1982. (In contrast, while the estimates of the
effects of CFC emissions on ozone also varied a great deal in these
early years, they always gave a net loss of ozone.)
The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole added a new piece to the
puzzle. As described in Part III, the ozone hole is caused by
heterogeneous chemistry on the surfaces of stratospheric cloud
particles. While these clouds are only found in polar regions,
similar chemical reactions take place on sulfate aerosols which are
found throughout the lower stratosphere. The most important of the
aerosol reactions is the conversion of N2O5 to nitric acid:
N2O5 + H2O -* 2 HNO3 (catalyzed by aerosol surfaces)
N2O5 is in equilibrium with NOx, so removal of N2O5 by this
reaction lowers the NOx concentration. The result is that in the
lower stratosphere the NOx catalytic cycle contributes much less to
overall ozone loss than the HOx and ClOx cycles. Ironically, the
same processes that makes chlorine-catalyzed ozone depletion so
much more important than was believed 10 years ago, also make
NOx-catalyzed ozone loss less important.
In the meantime, there has been a great deal of progress in developing
jet engines that will produce much less NOx – up to a factor of 10 –
than the old Boeing SST. The most recent model calculations indicate
that a fleet of the new high-speed civil transports would deplete
the ozone layer by 0.3-1.8%. Caution is still required, since the
experiment has not been done – we have not yet tried adding large
amounts of NOx to the stratosphere. The forecasts, however, are
good. Very recently, a new complication
has appeared: _in situ_ measurements in the exhaust plume of a
Concorde aircraft flying at supersonic speeds indicate that the
ground-based estimates of NOx emissions are accurate, but that the
exhaust also contains large amounts of sulfate-based particulates
. Since reactions on sulfate aerosols are believed
to play an important role in halogen-catalyzed ozone depletion, it may
be advisable to concentrate on reducing the sulfur content of the
fuels that are to be used in new generations of supersonic aircraft,
rather than further reducing NOx emissions.
_Aside_: One sometimes hears that the US government killed the SST
project in 1971 because of concerns raised by H. S. Johnston’s work
on NOx. This is not true. The US House of Representatives had already
voted to cut off Federal funding for the SST when Johnston began
his calculations. The House debate had centered around economics and
the effects of noise, especially sonic booms, although there were
some vague concerns about pollution and one physicist had testified
about the possible effects of water vapor on ozone. About 6 weeks
after both houses had voted to cancel the SST, its supporters
succeeded in reviving the project in the House. In the meantime,
Johnston had sent a preliminary report to several professional
colleagues and submitted a paper to _Science_. A preprint of
Johnston’s report leaked to a small California newspaper which
published a highly sensationalized account. The story hit the press
a few days before the Senate voted, 58-37, not to revive the SST.
(The previous Senate vote had been 51-46 to cancel the project. The
reason for the larger majority in the second vote was probably the
statement by Boeing’s chairman that at least $500 million more would
be needed to revive the program.)
Subject: 2.15) What is being done about ozone depletion?
The 1987 Montreal Protocol (full text available on the world-wide web at
http://www.unep.org/unep/secretar/ozone/treaties.htm) specified that
CFC emissions should be reduced by 50% by the year 2000 (they had
been _increasing_ by 3% per year.) This agreement was amended in
London in 1990, to state that production of CFC’s, CCl4, and halons
should cease entirely by the year 2000. Restrictions were also applied
applied to other Cl sources such as methylchloroform. (The details of
the protocols are complicated, involving different schedules for different
compounds, delays for developing nations, etc.) The phase-out schedule
was accelerated by four years by the 1992 Copenhagen agreements. A great
deal of effort has been devoted to recovering and recycling CFC’s that are
currently being used in closed-cycle systems.
For more information about legal and policy issues, see the books by
and , and the following web sites:
http://www.unep.ch/ozone/ (European mirror site for above)
Recent NOAA measurements
show that the _rate of increase_ of halocarbon concentrations in the
atmosphere has decreased markedly since 1987. It appears that the
Protocols are being observed. Under these conditions total stratospheric
chlorine is predicted to peak at 3.8 ppbv in the year 1998, 0.2 ppbv above
1994 levels, and to slowly decline thereafter. Extrapolation of
current trends suggests that the maximum ozone losses will be :
Northern Mid-latitudes in winter/Spring: 12-13% below late 1960’s levels,
~2.5% below current levels.
Northern mid-latitudes in summer/fall: 6-7% below late 1960’s levels,
~1.5% below current levels.
Southern mid-latitudes, year-round: ~ 11% below late 1960’s levels,
~2.5% below current levels.
Very little depletion has been seen in the tropics and little is
expected there. After the year 2000, the ozone layer will slowly
recover over a period of 50 years or so. The antarctic ozone hole
is expected to last until about 2045.
Some scientists are investigating ways to replenish stratospheric
ozone, either by removing CFC’s from the troposphere or by tying up
the chlorine in inactive compounds. This is discussed in Part III.
Subject: 3. REFERENCES FOR PART I
A remark on references: they are neither representative nor
comprehensive. There are _hundreds_ of people working on these
problems. Where possible I have limited myself to articles that
are (1) available outside of University libraries (e.g. _Science_
or _Nature_ rather than archival journals such as _J. Geophys. Res._)
and (2) directly related to the frequently asked questions.
I have not listed papers whose importance is primarily historical.
(I make an exception for the Nobel-Prize winning work of Crutzen,
Molina and Rowland.) Readers who want to see who did what should
consult the review articles listed below, or, if they can get them,
the WMO reports which are extensively documented.
Subject: Introductory Reading
R. R. Garcia, Causes of Ozone Depletion, _Physics World_
April 1994 pp 49-55.
T. E. Graedel and P. J. Crutzen,
_Atmospheric Change: an Earth System Perspective_, Freeman, NY 1993.
F.S. Rowland, Chlorofluorocarbons and the depletion
of stratospheric ozone, _American Scientist_ _77_, 36, 1989.
F. S. Rowland and M. J. Molina, Ozone
depletion: 20 years after the alarm, _Chemical and Engineering
News_, 15 Aug. 1994, pp. 8-13.
P. S. Zurer, Ozone Depletion’s Recurring Surprises
Challenge Atmospheric Scientists, _Chemical and Engineering News_,
24 May 1993, pp. 9-18.
Subject: Books and Review Articles
R. Bene*censored*, _Ozone Diplomacy_, Harvard, 1991.
G. Brasseur and S. Solomon, _Aeronomy of
the Middle Atmosphere_, 2nd. Edition, D. Reidel, 1986
J. W. Chamberlain and D. M. Hunten,
_Theory of Planetary Atmospheres_, 2nd Edition, Academic Press, 1987
G. M. B. Dobson, _Exploring the Atmosphere_,
2nd Edition, Oxford, 1968.
G. M. B. Dobson, Forty Years’ research on atmospheric
ozone at Oxford, _Applied Optics_, _7_, 387, 1968.
Climate Impact Committee, National Research Council,
_Environmental Impact of Stratospheric Flight_,
National Academy of Sciences, 1975.
H. S. Johnston, Atmospheric Ozone,
_Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem._ _43_, 1, 1992.
M. K. W. Ko, N.-D. Sze, and M. J. Prather, Better
Protection of the Ozone Layer, _Nature_ _367_, 505, 1994.
K. T. Litvin, _Ozone Discourses_, Columbia 1994.
M. McElroy and R. Salawich,
Changing Composition of the Global Stratosphere,
_Science_ _243, 763, 1989.
F. S. Rowland and M. J. Molina,
Chlorofluoromethanes in the Environment,
Rev. Geophys. & Space Phys. _13_, 1, 1975.
F. S. Rowland, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion,
_Ann. Rev. Phys. Chem._ _42_, 731, 1991.
M. L. Salby and R. R. Garcia, Dynamical Perturbations
to the Ozone Layer, _Physics Today_ _43_, 38, March 1990.
S. Solomon, Progress towards a quantitative understanding
of Antarctic ozone depletion, _Nature_ _347_, 347, 1990.
J. M. Wallace and P. V. Hobbs,
_Atmospheric Science: an Introductory Survey_, Academic Press, 1977.
R. P. Wayne, _Chemistry of Atmospheres_,
2nd. Ed., Oxford, 1991.
World Meteorological Organization,
_Report of the International Ozone Trends Panel_,
Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project – Report #18.
World Meteorological Organization,
_Scientific Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone: 1991_
Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project – Report #20.
World Meteorological Organization,
_Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1991_
Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project – Report #25.
World Meteorological Organization,
_Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 1994_
Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project – Report #37.
The Executive Summary of this report is available on the
World-Wide Web at http://www.al.noaa.gov/WWWHD/pubdocs/WMOUNEP94.html
Subject: More Specialized References
R. D. Bojkov, V. E. Fioletov, D. S. Balis,
C. S. Zerefos, T. V. Kadygrova, and A. M. Shalamjansky,
Further ozone decline during the northern hemisphere winter-spring
of 1994-95 and the new record low ozone over Siberia,
Geophys. Res. Lett. _22_, 2729, 1995.
G. Brasseur and C. Granier, Mt. Pinatubo
aerosols, chlorofluorocarbons, and ozone depletion, _Science_
_257_, 1239, 1992.
P. J. Crutzen, The influence of nitrogen oxides on the
atmospheric ozone content, _Quart. J. R. Met. Soc._ _90_, 320, 1970.
J. W. Elkins, T. M. Thompson, T. H. Swanson,
J. H. Butler, B. D. Hall, S. O. Cummings, D. A. Fisher, and
A. G. Raffo, Decrease in Growth Rates of Atmospheric
Chlorofluorocarbons 11 and 12, _Nature_ _364_, 780, 1993.
D. W. Fahey, E. R. Keim, K. A. Boering,
C. A. Brock, J. C. Wilson, H. H. Jonsson, S. Anthony, T. F. Hanisco,
P. O. Wennberg, R. C. Miake-Lye, R. J. Salawich, N. Louisnard,
E. L. Woodbridge, R. S. Gao, S. G. Donnelly, R. C. Wamsley,
L. A. Del Negro, S. Solomon, B. C. Daube, S. C. Wofsy, C. R. Webster,
R. D. May, K. K. Kelly, M. Loewenstein, J. R. Podolske, and K. R. Chan,
Emission Measurements of the Concorde Supersonic Aircraft in the
Lower Stratosphere, _Science_ _270_, 70, 1995.
J. Gleason, P. Bhatia, J. Herman, R. McPeters, P.
Newman, R. Stolarski, L. Flynn, G. Labow, D. Larko, C. Seftor, C.
Wellemeyer, W. Komhyr, A. Miller, and W. Planet, Record Low Global
Ozone in 1992, _Science_ _260_, 523, 1993.
K. Henriksen and V. Roldugin, Total ozone
variations in Middle Asia and dynamics meteorological processes
in the atmosphere, _Geophys. Res. Lett._ _22_, 3219, 1995.
K. Henriksen, T. Svenoe, and S. H. H. Larsen,
On the stability of the ozone layer at Tromso, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys.
_55_, 1113, 1992.
J. R. Herman, R. McPeters, and D. Larko,
Ozone depletion at northern and southern latitudes derived
from January 1979 to December 1991 TOMS data,
J. Geophys. Res. _98_, 12783, 1993.
D. J. Hofmann and S. Solomon, Ozone
destruction through heterogeneous chemistry following the
eruption of El Chichon, J. Geophys. Res. _94_, 5029, 1989.
D. J. Hofmann, S. J. Oltmans, W. D. Komhyr,
J. M. Harris, J. A. Lathrop, A. O. Langford, T. Deshler,
B. J. Johnson, A. Torres, and W. A. Matthews,
Ozone Loss in the lower stratosphere over the United States in
1992-1993: Evidence for heterogeneous chemistry on the Pinatubo
aerosol, Geophys. Res. Lett. _21_, 65, 1994.
D. J. Hofmann, S. J. Oltmans, J. M. Harris,
J. A. Lathrop, G. L. Koenig, W. D. Komhyr, R. D. Evans, D. M. Quincy,
T. Deshler, and B. J. Johnson,
Recovery of stratospheric ozone over the United States in the winter
of 1993-94, Geophys. Res. Lett. _21_, 1779, 1994.
D. J. Hofmann, S. J. Oltmans, G. L. Koenig,
B. A. Bodhaine, J. M. Harris, J. A. Lathrop, R. C. Schnell, J. Barnes,
J. Chin, D. Kuniyuki, S. Ryan, R. Uchida, A. Yoshinaga, P. J. Neale,
D. R. Hayes, Jr., V. R. Goodrich, W. D. Komhyr, R. D. Evans, B. J. Johnson,
D. M. Quincy, and M. Clark, Record low ozone at Mauna Loa Observatory
during winter 1994-95: A consequence of chemical and dynamical
synergism?, Geophys. Res. Lett. _23_, 1533, 1996.
J. B. Kerr, D. I. Wardle, and P. W. Towsick,
Record low ozone values over Canada in early 1993,
Geophys. Res. Lett. _20_, 1979, 1993.
M. A. K. Khalil and R. Rasmussen, The Global
Sources of Nitrous Oxide, _J. Geophys. Res._ _97_, 14651, 1992.
S. H. H. Larsen and T. Henriksen,
Persistent Arctic ozone layer, _Nature_ _343_, 134, 1990.
M. P. McCormick, L. W. Thomason, and
C. R. Trepte, Atmospheric effects of the Mt Pinatubo eruption,
_Nature_ _373_, 399, 1995.
R. D. McPeters, S. M. Hollandsworth, and
C. J. Seftor, Long-term ozone trends derived from the 16-year combined
Nimbus 7/Meteor 3 TOMS Version 7 record, Geophys. Res. Lett. _23_,
M. J. Molina and F. S. Rowland,
Stratospheric sink for chlorofluoromethanes: chlorine
atom-catalyzed destruction of ozone, _Nature_ _249_, 810, 1974.
S. A. Montzka, J. H. Butler, R. C. Myers,
T. M. Thompson, T. H. Swanson, A. D. Clarke, L. T. Lock, and
J. W. Elkins, Decline in the Tropospheric Abundance of Halogen
from Halocarbons: Implications for Stratospheric Ozone Depletion,
_Science_ _272_, 1318, 1996.
M. J. Prather, M.M. Garcia, A.R. Douglass, C.H.
Jackman, M.K.W. Ko, and N.D. Sze, The Space Shuttle’s impact on
the stratosphere, J. Geophys. Res. _95_, 18583, 1990.
M. J. Prather, P. Midgley, F. S. Rowland,
and R. Stolarski, The ozone layer: the road not taken,
_Nature_ _381_, 551, 1996.
A. R. Ravishankara, A. A. Turnipseed,
N. R. Jensen, S. Barone, M. Mills, C. J. Howard, and S. Solomon,
Do Hydrofluorocarbons Destroy Stratospheric Ozone?,
_Science_ _263_, 71, 1994.
Special Section on the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas
Experiment II, _J. Geophys. Res._ _98_, 4835-4897, 1993.
S. Solomon and D.L. Albritton,
Time-dependent ozone depletion potentials for short- and long-term
forecasts, _Nature_ _357_, 33, 1992.
R. Stolarski, R. Bojkov, L. Bishop, C. Zerefos,
J. Staehelin, and J. Zawodny, Measured Trends in Stratospheric
Ozone, Science _256_, 342 (17 April 1992)
J. Waters, L. Froidevaux, W. Read, G. Manney, L.
Elson, D. Flower, R. Jarnot, and R. Harwood, Stratospheric ClO and
ozone from the Microwave Limb Sounder on the Upper Atmosphere
Research Satellite, _Nature_ _362_, 597, 1993.
R. Zander, M. R. Gunson, C. B. Farmer, C. P.
Rinsland, F. W. Irion, and E. Mahieu, The 1985 chlorine and
fluorine inventories in the stratosphere based on ATMOS
observations at 30 degrees North latitude, J. Atmos. Chem. _15_,
Subject: Internet Resources
This list is preliminary and by no means comprehensive; it includes a
few sites that I have found particularly useful and which provide
good starting points for further exploration.
Probably the most extensive collection of online resources is that provided
by the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network:
It includes links to many other documents, including on-line versions
of some of the original research papers. At the present time portions
of the site are very much under construction.
Lenticular Press publishes a multimedia CD-ROM (for Apple Macintosh)
containing ozone data and images, as well as a hypertext document similar
to this FAQ. For sample images and information about ordering the CD,
see http://www.lenticular.com/ Note that these samples are copyrighted
and may not be further distributed.
The NOAA Aeronomy Lab: http://www.al.noaa.gov/ ,
has the text of the Executive Summary of the 1994 WMO Scientific
The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Ozone Secretariat:
Main page http://www.unep.org/unep/secretar/ozone/home.htm (Nairobi, Kenya).
Mirror site http://www.unep.ch/ozone/ (Geneva, Switzerland).
The US Environmental Protection Agency has an ozone page that includes
links to both science and policy resources:
Some of the more interesting scientific web pages include:
The Centre for Antarctic Information and Research (ICAIR) in New Zealand:
Environment Canada: http://www.doe.ca/ozone/index.htm
The TOMS home page: http://jwocky.gsfc.nasa.gov/
The EASOE home page: http://www.atm.ch.cam.ac.uk/images/easoe/
The UARS Project Definition page:
The HALOE home page: http://haloedata.larc.nasa.gov/home.html
The British Antarctic Survey:
The ETH Zuerich Institute for Atmospheric Science
The Institute for Meteorology at the Free University of Berlin:
The Climate Prediction Center’s TOVS Total Ozone Analysis page:
The USDA UV-B Radiation Monitoring Program Climate Network,
Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
Last Update September 28 2000 @ 04:24 AM
Ozone Depletion FAQ Part IV: UV Radiation and its Effects
From: (Robert Parson)
Subject: Ozone Depletion FAQ Part IV: UV Radiation and its Effects
Date: 24 Dec 1997 20:51:43 GMT
Organization: University of Colorado, Boulder
Expires: Sun, 1 Jan 1998 00:00:00 GMT
Summary: This is the fourth of four files dealing with stratospheric
ozone depletion. It describes the properties of solar UV
radiation and some of its biological effects.
Keywords: ozone layer depletion UVB UVA skin cancer phytoplankton
Last-modified: 16 Dec 1997
Subject: How to get this FAQ
These files are posted to the newsgroups sci.environment, sci.answers,
and news.answers. They are also archived at a variety of sites. These
archives work by automatically downloading the faqs from the newsgroups
and reformatting them in site-specific ways. They usually update to
the latest version within a few days of its being posted, although in
the past there have been some lapses; if the Last-Modified date in
the FAQ seems old, you may want to see if there is a more recent version
in a different archive.
Many individuals have archived copies on their own servers, but these
are often seriously out of date and in general are not recommended.
A. World-Wide Web
(Limited) hypertext versions, with embedded links to some of the on-line
resources cited in the faqs, can be found at:
Plaintext versions can be found at:
B. Anonymous ftp
To rtfm.mit.edu, in the directory /pub/usenet/news.answers/ozone-depletion
To ftp.uu.net, in the directory /usenet/news.answers/ozone-depletion
Look for the four files named intro, stratcl, antarctic, and uv.
C. Regular email
Send the following messages to :
Leave the subject line blank.
If you want to find out more about the mail server, send a
message to it containing the word help.
Subject: Copyright Notice
* Copyright 1997 Robert Parson *
* This file may be distributed, copied, and archived. All such *
* copies must include this notice and the paragraph below entitled *
* Caveat. Reproduction and distribution for personal profit is *
* not permitted. If this document is transmitted to other networks or *
* stored on an electronic archive, I ask that you inform me. I also *
* ask you to keep your archive up to date; in the case of world-wide *
* web pages, this is most easily done by linking to the master at the *
* ohio-state http URL instead of storing local copies. Finally, I *
* request that you inform me before including any of this information *
* in any publications of your own. Students should note that this *
* is _not_ a peer-reviewed publication and may not be acceptable as *
* a reference for school projects; it should instead be used as a *
* pointer to the published literature. In particular, all scientific *
* data, numerical estimates, etc. should be accompanied by a citation *
* to the original published source, not to this document. *
Subject: General Remarks
This file deals with the physical properties of ultraviolet
radiation and its biological consequences, emphasizing the
possible effects of stratospheric ozone depletion. It frequently
refers back to Part I, where the basic properties of the ozone
layer are described; the reader should look over that file first.
The overall approach I take is conservative. I concentrate on what
is known and on most probable, rather than worst-case, scenarios.
For example, I have relatively little to say about the
effects of UV radiation on plants – this does not mean that the
effects are small, it means that they are as yet not well
quantified (and moreover, I am not well qualified to interpret the
literature.) Policy decisions must take into account not only the
most probable scenario, but also a range of less probable ones.
will probably do, but also the worst that he could possibly do.
There have been surprises, mostly unpleasant, in this field in the
past, and there are sure to be more in the future. In general,
_much_ less is known about biological effects of UV-B than about
the physics and chemistry of the ozone layer.
Subject: Caveats, Disclaimers, and Contact Information
| _Caveat_: I am not a specialist. In fact, I am not an atmospheric
| scientist at all – I am a physical chemist studying gas-phase
| reactions who talks to atmospheric scientists. In this part