Ozone-related news is listed below.
Low Ozone Update
News published: 25/04/2013
The UK is currently beneath an area of low stratospheric ozone. The measured daily ozone has been more than two standard deviations below the long term historical monthly mean on the 23rd and 24th April. We expect stratospheric ozone levels and hence UV to return to within the normal seasonal range from Friday 26th.
This can be seen in the plots below showing the annual trend of measurements made by ground-based instruments at Lerwick and Reading in 2013:
The current low levels of ozone in the stratosphere arise from a combination of
- long lived pollutants (CFCs – chlorofluorocarbons) released to the atmosphere decades ago, the use of which have been banned under the Montreal Protocol which entered into force in 1989. The breakdown of these substances in the stratosphere destroys ozone; and
- the current weather patterns which have caused a parcel of air from the polar region where there is currently low ozone concentrations to break away from the stratospheric polar vortex and pass over the UK for a few days.
Low ozone coinciding with spring sunshine can result in concern over public exposure from the high levels of UV radiation at ground level under a clear sky leading to sunburn, which can increase an individual’s lifetime skin cancer risk.
Public Health England is advising people to minimise their sun exposure when the sun is likely to be at its strongest, between 11am and 3pm. For those outdoors for long periods of the day, use shade, clothing and sunscreen to reduce exposure:
Ozone pioneer Rowland dies at 84
News published: 12/03/2012
The death has been announced of Sherwood Rowland - the US chemistry professor who first suspected that the Earth's protective ozone layer was being depleted by man-made chemicals. Prof Rowland published a paper on the dangers of the then-popular chlorofluorocarbons - CFCs - in 1974. 20 years later, Sherwood Rowland won a Nobel Prize for his work. Please follow the link for full news article BBC News website
Measurements at Lerwick recommenced for 2012
News published: 17/01/2012
The Dobson ozone monitoring at Lerwick recommenced on the 16th January 2012 after the ceasing on the 27th November 2011 due to the usual low solar angles for that time of year.
Measurements at Lerwick ceased for 2011
News published: 01/12/2011
The Dobson ozone monitoring at Lerwick ceased from 27th November 2011 - as usual for the time of year due to sun angles that were too low. Measurements will recommence in the New Year.
Arctic ozone loss at record level
News published: 04/10/2011
Ozone loss over the Arctic this year was so severe that for the first time it could be called an "ozone hole" like the Antarctic one, scientists report. Please follow the links for further information: BBC News website, Nature Website
Ozone Secretariat synthesis report of the 2010 assessments of the Montreal Protocol assessment panels
News published: 11/07/2011
Please follow the link to access the pdf of the report.
UNFCCC technical paper on the implications of the establishment of new hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22 (HCFC-22) facilities seeking to obtain certified emission reductions for the destruction of hydrofluorocarbon-23 (HFC-23)
News published: 10/06/2011
Please follow the link to access the pdf from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website.
First Announcement for the 13th Biennial WMO-GAW Brewer Users Group Workshop, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Science (CAMS) and the Chinese Meteorological Administration (CMA), Beijing, China
News published: 10/06/2011
Download the pdf document for more information.
Commission Regulation (EU) No 537/2011 on the use of ozone depleting substances allowed for laboratory and analytical purposes
News published: 10/06/2011
Please follow the link to download the pdf from the EUR-Lex – Access to European Union Law website.
Ozone Secretariat proposed amendment submitted by Canada, Mexico and the USA to Control HFCs under the Montreal Protocol
News published: 18/05/2011
Summary Points: North American HFC Submission to the Montreal Protocol
Key elements of the North American proposal:
- Lists 20 HFCs as a new Annex F, including two substances sometimes referred to as HFOs.
- Recognizes that there may not be alternatives for all HFC applications and therefore utilizes a gradual phasedown mechanism with a plateau, as opposed to a phaseout.
- Establishes provisions for developed country (non–Article 5) and developing country (Article 5) phasedown of production and consumption.
- The baseline for Article 5 countries is calculated based on HCFC consumption and production respectively averaged over years 2005–2008, recognising there are HFC data limitations in some countries.
- For non–Article 5 countries, the baseline is determined from a combination of HFC plus 85% of HCFC consumption and production respectively averaged over years 2005–2008.
For more information: key elements of the North American proposal.
Low Ozone Update
News published: 11/04/2011
Significant ozone depletion has occurred above the Arctic over the last 3 weeks, causing record low levels.
This has been detected in the UK, with four days of Low Ozone experienced at the Lerwick monitoring station from the 27th March 2011 and have since returned to normal. The Reading site has also observed low ozone on the 31st March and the 6th April.
Due to prevailing meteorological conditions and there being low UV levels at this time of year, the depleted ozone has not resulted in any significant risk to public health in the UK. The HPA UV website and Met Office UV forecasts provide public information on UV levels in the UK, and highlight whether these represent a risk.
Arctic on the verge of record ozone loss - Arctic-wide measurements verify rapid depletion in recent days
News published: 29/03/2011
The following is an excerpt taken from a news article on the AWI website:
"Unusually low temperatures in the Arctic ozone layer have recently initiated massive ozone depletion. The Arctic appears to be heading for a record loss of this trace gas that protects the Earth's surface against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This result has been found by measurements carried out by an international network of over 30 ozone sounding stations spread all over the Arctic and Subarctic and coordinated by the Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI) in Germany." Continue reading: news article.
Although there is a decrease in ozone over the past few days at the Lerwick monitoring station the UV levels in Scotland remain low. However, up-to-date information, including health-based recommendations, can be found on the HPA UV website
Measurements at Lerwick recommenced for 2011
News published: 19/01/2011
The Dobson ozone monitoring at Lerwick recommenced on the 16th January 2011 after the ceasing on the 27th November 2010 due to the usual low solar angles for that time of year.
Webcast of GAW-CH Conference, Zurich 18-19 January 2011
News published: 17/01/2011
Most of the talks of the GAW-CH Conference, to be held on 18-19 January 2011, at ETH in Zurich, will be webcast at: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/arep/gaw/webcastzurich.html
This includes a session on Stratospheric Ozone. Please see the website and programme for more details.
Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010 now published
News published: 07/01/2011
UNEP Ozone Secretariat has now published the 2010 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion. Visit http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/SAP/Scientific_Assessment_2010/index.shtml to download the full report.
Measurements at Lerwick ceased for 2010
News published: 02/12/2010
The Dobson ozone monitoring at Lerwick ceased from 27th November 2010 - as usual for the time of year due to sun angles that were too low. Measurements will recommence in the new year.
Executive Summary of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010
News published: 19/11/2010
The executive summary of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010 is now available for download: http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/SAP/ExecutiveSummary_SAP_2010.pdf (PDF 2.36 MB)
Executive Summary of Ozone Secretariat Environmental Effects Assessment Panel annual assessment of ozone depletion
News published: 19/11/2010
The Ozone Secretariat Environmental Effects Assessment Panel annual assessment of ozone depletion (executive summary) is now available for download: http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/EEAP/EEAP_Executive_Summary_1_Nov_2010.pdf (PDF 57.28 KB)
New report highlights two-way link between ozone layer and climate change
News published: 29/09/2010
A UNEP/WMO press release has been issued as part of Ozone Day 2010.
2009 World signs up to Montreal Protocol
News published: 16/09/2009
The accession of East Timor last week to the Montreal Protocol, which is designed to curb the release of ozone-depleting chemicals, makes it the first environmental treaty to achieve ratification by all members of the United Nations.
UNEP press release
Message from UN secretary general (PDF 20.29 KB)
European Commission press release
Ozone Day website
2009 US back initiative to regulate HFCs
News published: 17/09/2009
US, Canada and Mexico back initiative to regulate HFCs under ozone treaty.
News published: 03/07/2009
There has recently been reprocessing of Lerwick data and Reading data for the periods between 2003 - 2007. This means that some of the low ozone events previously reported during this period will no longer be valid.
Nov 2008 - Mini ozone hole
News published: 01/12/2008
This mini ozone hole can be traced back to a meteorological disturbance causing an ozone low forming of the East Coast of Canada around the 11th November it was then advected over the Atlantic and became quasi-stationary over the UK intensifying somewhat on the 14th and 15th. This mini-hole covered most of the UK mainland before then weakening and drifting into mainland Europe.
Enhanced 2008 website release
News published: 04/11/2008
The new Onzone-UV enhanced website is now up. Users can register with their basic information which can be used to download data via e-mail. Users do not have to register in order to download the data. But registering makes life simpler for the regular user.
Page last modified: 04 November 2008