Researching ozone depletion

Undertaking studies of atmospheric ozone
Scientific concern started in 1970 when Prof. Paul Crutzen pointed out the possibility that nitrogen oxides from fertilizers and supersonic aircraft might deplete the ozone layer. In 1974, Professors F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina recognized that when CFCs finally break apart in the atmosphere and release chlorine atoms they cause ozone depletion. Bromine atoms released by halons have the same effect. The three scientists received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995 for their pioneering work.

The international community started to take action to prevent further large-scale depletion of stratospheric ozone with the [Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer], 1985. In 1987 countries agreed on the [Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer], under which world consumption of specified chlorfluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons would be frozen and total CFC consumption would be reduced by 50% by the year 2000, relative to the base year 1986. Since then four amendments (London, Copenhagen, Vienna and Montreal) have been made to the original Protocol.

Nasa scientists have used improved understanding of weather systems and of the higher layers of the Earth's atmosphere to produce new models of ozone depletion. Paradoxically, global warming is one of the key culprits causing the cooling. As greenhouse gases accumulate in the lower atmosphere, they absorb heat radiated from the Earth that would otherwise escape into the upper atmosphere, warming it up. Man-made chemicals, including CFCs, the production of which the developed world is now repressing, take 10 to 15 years to work their way upwards. In cooler temperatures, they are much more damaging to ozone.

The political response to the detection of the ozone hole in the Antarctic in the 70's was the [UN Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer] in 1985 and the [Montreal Protocol] in 1987 which have limited the industrial production of a range of ozone depleting substances such as chlorines and bromines. As a consequence, the atmospheric concentrations of some of these chemicals have either stopped rising or started to decline while the concentration of others is still rising.
Inorganic chemical compounds
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies