What's going on with the ozone?

What's going on with the ozone?

World governments agreed in the late 1980s to protect Earth’s ozone layer by phasing out ozone-depleting substances emitted by human activities, under the Montreal Protocol. The phase out of these substances has not only helped protect the ozone layer for future generations but has also protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching Earth. On 16 September, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, we take a closer look at this year’s ozone hole.

The ozone layer in the atmosphere protects Earth from potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation. In the 1970s, scientists discovered that the ozone layer was being depleted.

Atmospheric conditions of ozone vary naturally depending on temperature, weather, latitude and altitude, while substances ejected by natural events such as volcanic eruptions can also affect ozone levels. However, these natural phenomena couldn’t explain the levels of depletion observed and it was discovered that certain human-made chemicals were the cause.

Ozone depletion is greatest at the South Pole. This depletion creates what is known as the ‘ozone hole.’ From August to October, the ozone hole increases in size – reaching a maximum between mid-September and mid-October.

The Montreal Protocol was created in 1987 to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of these harmful substances, which is slowly leading to its recovery. Some of the ozone-depleting substances emitted by human activities remain in the stratosphere for decades, meaning that ozone layer recovery is a very slow, long process.

The Montreal Protocol demonstrates the power of international commitment to protecting our environment. Satellite data provide a good means to monitor changes of the ozone layer on global scale. Ozone measurements from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite extend the European time-series that started in 1995 with the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME).

These data can be used for long-term trend monitoring and provide ozone measurements just three hours after measurement time to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), operated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) for ozone monitoring and forecasting.

The ozone hole today
Data from Sentinel-5P was used to show that last year’s ozone hole over the Antarctic was one of the largest and deepest in recent years. The hole grew rapidly from mid-August and peaked at around 25 million sq km on 2 October. The large ozone hole was driven by a strong, stable and cold polar vortex which kept the temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica consistently cold. This was in stark contrast with the unusually small ozone hole that formed in 2019.

This year, the ozone hole’s evolution appears to be similar to last year’s size, currently around 23 million sq km – reaching an extent larger than Antarctica. According to CAMS, the 2021 ozone hole has considerably grown in the last two weeks and is now larger than 75% of ozone holes at that stage in the season since 1979.

Antje Inness, a senior scientist at ECMWF, commented, “This ozone evolution is what we would expect given the current atmospheric conditions. The progress of the ozone hole over the coming weeks will be extremely interesting.”

ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager, Claus Zehner, added, “Sentinel-5P ozone measurements are a key contribution to global ozone monitoring and forecasting in the frame of the Copernicus programme.

“The monitoring of the ozone hole over the South Pole must be interpreted carefully as the size, duration and the ozone concentrations of a single hole are influenced by the local wind fields, or meteorology, around the South Pole. Nevertheless, we expect a closing of the ozone hole over the South Pole by the year 2050.”

Looking ahead
Satellites orbiting above are the only way of measuring the ozone’s recovery and change in a consistent and systematic manner. Most ozone-measuring satellites, such as the Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission, provide a value for the amount of ozone in a column – meaning the total amount of ozone in a column of air from the ground to the top of the atmosphere. In conjunction, profiles, which show concentrations at different altitudes, are also needed to gain the full picture.

The upcoming Atmospheric Limb Tracker for Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere (Altius) mission, set to launch in 2025, will deliver profiles of ozone and other trace gases in the upper atmosphere to support services such as weather forecasting, and to monitor long-term trends.

Altius carries a high-resolution 2D imager that observes ozone from side-on, at Earth’s limb or atmospheric boundary. This limb-sounding technique allows ozone to be viewed at different altitudes, thereby providing vertical profiles of different ozone concentrations. As well as ozone, Altius will also deliver profiles of other trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, water vapour and aerosol information.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

A world without access to space

Over the last several years we have been yelling and screaming about the existential threat of space debris on our ability to conduct space commerce, but the world is not ... Read more »

NASA looks beyond SpaceX, Boeing contracts for space station commutes

NASA posted a formal request on a government website Wednesday, seeking companies that could provide astronaut transportation vehicles to the International Space Station by 2027. SpaceX has provided such transport ... Read more »

Major step in UK contribution to space mission to study solar wind

Space scientists from the University of Leicester have delivered a key component for a new mission to study the impact of the solar wind on Earth’s magnetic field. Engineers from ... Read more »

New galaxy images reveal a fitful start to the Universe

New images have revealed detailed clues about how the first stars and structures were formed in the Universe and suggest the formation of the Galaxy got off to a fitful ... Read more »

Rocket Lab to recover Electron Rocket, introduce helicopter support operations

Rocket Lab USA reports it will attempt a controlled ocean splashdown and recovery of the first stage of an Electron rocket during the company’s next launch in November. The mission ... Read more »

SpaceX conducts 2 test firings of Starship 20 in Texas

SpaceX conducted two engine test firings of its Starship 20 prototype rocket at its facility near Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday The launch vehicle, a part of SpaceX’s plans to travel ... Read more »

Studying the edge of the Sun's magnetic bubble

Our corner of the universe, the solar system, is nestled inside the Milky Way galaxy, home to more than 100 billion stars. The solar system is encased in a bubble ... Read more »

NEID Spectrometer Lights Up Path to Exoplanet Exploration

As NASA expands its quest to discover exoplanets – planets beyond our solar system – it also grows its toolbox. Over the summer, a new tool called NEID (pronounced NOO-id) ... Read more »

In-Orbit cloud computing and storage platform successfully demonstrated

Space transportation and logistics company D-Orbit has successfully completed the orbital testing of Nebula, a cloud platform designed to provide distributed high-performance data analytics computing and storage capabilities in space. ... Read more »

From Polar Bears to Polar Orbits

Alaska is known for its polar bears, rugged landscapes, expansive areas and remoteness. Alaska is not the first place people envision when they think of rocket launches. However, Alaska is ... Read more »

South Korea launches own space rocket for the first time

South Korea launched its first domestically developed space rocket on Thursday, carrying a 1.5-tonne payload into orbit it seeks to join the ranks of advanced space-faring nations. The Korea Space ... Read more »

NASA is returning to Venus

NASA has selected two missions, dubbed DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, to study the “lost habitable” world of Venus. Each mission will receive approximately US$500 million for development and both are expected ... Read more »

Giant comet found in outer solar system by Dark Energy Survey

A giant comet from the outskirts of our Solar System has been discovered in 6 years of data from the Dark Energy Survey. Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein is estimated to be about ... Read more »

Laser solid-phase synthesis of single atom catalysts

Laser fabrication of nanoparticles offers a powerful and flexible alternative to the purely chemical approaches. In recent years, laser synthesized precious metal nanoparticles are becoming increasingly important in catalysis due ... Read more »

Climate model shows that Venus could never have had oceans

Whether Venus, one of the Solar System’s four terrestrial planets, ever had oceans remains an unsolved puzzle. Although an American study hypothesized that it did, this is now challenged in ... Read more »

U.S. needs nuclear spacecraft to compete with China, NASA official says

NASA and U.S. aerospace experts urged Congress on Wednesday to invest more quickly and heavily in development of nuclear-powered spacecraft Wednesday to stay ahead of such competitors as China. The ... Read more »

AMOS' compact hyperspectral instrument "ELOIS" to onboard a microsatellite soon

AMOS and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a contract to build and qualify a first flight model of an advanced compact hyperspectral imager designed by AMOS and called ... Read more »

Russian film crew says shooting in space a 'huge challenge'

Their movie props floated around and they used Velcro to keep objects in place but Russia’s first film crew in space said they were delighted with the result and had ... Read more »

China describes hypersonic test as a space vehicle trial

The Financial Times earlier reported that the test of the alleged hypersonic glider vehicle by China this summer “caught the US government by surprise” as it purportedly demonstrated the great ... Read more »

Conclusions from Satellite Constellations 2 Released

The Satellite Constellations 2 (SATCON2) workshop, held 12-16 July 2021, brought together more than 350 astronomers, satellite operators, dark-sky advocates, policy experts, and other stakeholders from 40 countries to discuss ... Read more »

Test conducted to verify spacecraft technology, FM says

The Chinese space test that drew great attention was made to verify reusable spacecraft technologies, not to test a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile, as some foreign media claimed, the Foreign Ministry ... Read more »

China says recent test was spacecraft not missile

China on Monday denied a report it had recently launched a hypersonic missile, saying it tested a spacecraft to trial reusable technologies. The Financial Times reported Saturday that Beijing had ... Read more »

China's longest-yet crewed space mission impressive, expert says

China’s Shenzhou XIII crewed spaceship successfully docked with the port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, a move overseas experts have called another “key step” forward in ... Read more »

Over half OneWeb constellation now deployed

Arianespace has successfully performed Soyuz Flight ST36. This latest launch for OneWeb’s placed 36 more satellites into orbit. ST36 represents an important step in OneWeb and Arianespace’s partnership: the operator ... Read more »

Chinese astronaut bridges gender gap

China’s landmark six-month journey in space has left many curious about the differences between male and female astronauts. Wang Yaping, a 41-year-old female astronaut from Shandong province in East China, ... Read more »

Humidity caused corrosion of Starliner capsule valves, Boeing, NASA say

Humid Florida air may have caused valves to stick in Boeing’s Starliner space capsule during preparation for a test launch Aug. 3, causing further delay in NASA’s astronaut launch program, ... Read more »

NASA selects Gamma-ray Telescope to Chart Milky Way evolution

NASA has selected a new space telescope proposal that will study the recent history of star birth, star death, and the formation of chemical elements in the Milky Way. The ... Read more »

Dwarf galaxy catches globular cluster

Astronomers already knew that our own Milky Way grew by taking in smaller galaxies. But now a team of Italian-Dutch researchers have shown that a small galaxy neighbouring the Milky ... Read more »

How the Sun Affects Asteroids in Our Neighborhood

Asteroids embody the story of our solar system’s beginning. Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, which orbit the Sun on the same path as the gas giant, are no exception. The Trojans are ... Read more »

One in three young kids uses social media, use of parental controls spotty

One out of three children ages 7 to 9 use some form of social media, according to the results of a national poll released Monday. In addition, nearly half of ... Read more »

Highly porous rocks responsible for Bennu's surprisingly craggy surface

Scientists thought asteroid Bennu’s surface would be like a sandy beach, abundant in fine sand and pebbles, which would have been perfect for collecting samples. Past telescope observations from Earth’s ... Read more »

Is Planetary Defense PI in the Sky?

In February of 2013, skywatchers around the world turned their attention toward asteroid 2012 DA14, a cosmic rock about 150 feet (50 meters) in diameter that was going to fly ... Read more »

US firm sees 'exciting' moment as space tourism booms

As competition in space tourism heats up, one of the first companies to offer space travel to fee-paying customers is launching a comeback by blasting into orbit with a Japanese ... Read more »

Russia's Soyuz spacecraft lands in Kazakhstan after ISS mission

A Soyuz MS-18 space capsule with a cosmonaut and two Russian filmmakers landed in Kazakhstan on Sunday after a 3 1/2-hour trip from the International Space Station. The capsule landed ... Read more »

Researchers call for armchair astronomers to help find unknown hidden worlds

Astronomers at Queen’s University Belfast have launched a new online initiative, calling for volunteers to come forward and help to search for extrasolar planets. The online citizen project, hosted by ... Read more »

Laser Communications Relay Demonstration gears up for launch

NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) is gearing up for launch this fall, no earlier than Nov. 22. The payload arrived in Florida in May, fully integrated into its host ... Read more »

Astronomers see white dwarf switch on and off

White dwarfs are what most stars become after burning off the hydrogen that fuels them. Now our astronomers have seen one of these galactic objects switching on and off for ... Read more »

Concrete: the world's 3rd largest CO2 emitter

If concrete were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases on Earth, behind only China and the United States. How can this material, essential for ... Read more »

Three hours to save Integral

On 22 September, around midday, ESA’s Integral spacecraft went into emergency Safe Mode. One of the spacecraft’s three active ‘reaction wheels’ had turned off without warning and stopped spinning, causing ... Read more »

Russian rocket tests briefly destabilise space station

The International Space Station was briefly destabilised Friday during tests of a Russian-made Soyuz rocket, but the crew and the orbital station were not in danger, Moscow said. Russia’s Roscosmos ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic