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Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) Video: What Happened to the Ozone Hole?

Datum 17.09.2018

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer commemorates human efforts to protect the atmospheric layer that shields all life forms on Earth from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Observed on 16 September each year, the occasion also presents an opportunity to educate the public about the ozone layer, its ‘hole’ over Antarctica, and the vital role that monitoring services play in assessing the dangers posed by ozone depletion.

CAMS Video: What Happened to the Ozone Hole?Quelle: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, ECMWF

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), implemented by ECMWF, is a major provider of data used by policy makers to ensure that the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – an international treaty signed on this day in 1987 – is successfully executed. By supplying information on the amounts of ozone in the stratosphere, where about 90 percent of ozone is found, CAMS data helps to quantify the effects of the treaty, which phases out almost 100 ozone-depleting chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

CAMS – part of the European Commission’s Copernicus Earth-observation programme – monitors the ozone layer on a daily basis through data delivered by various satellites, including Sentinel-5P, the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere, and the Aura mission from NASA. With these data, CAMS runs a global model providing a historical record from 2003 up to the present day. To improve its knowledge of this process, the service also studies wind and temperature in the stratosphere, in addition to monitoring ozone and other chemical species.

“The satellite instruments measure the ozone’s absorption of sunlight and other forms of radiation, and this is used to infer how much ozone is in the stratosphere,” says Johannes Flemming, CAMS Principal Scientist. “But this satellite data often has a limited vertical resolution or may have gaps, such as during the polar night, so we use models of the atmosphere to fill these gaps. This is a technique called data assimilation, which we use at CAMS to get the best possible combination of satellite data and model results.”

Using such data, CAMS issues five-day forecasts for UV radiation levels on Earth’s surface, taking into consideration the effect of ozone, clouds and aerosol particles. This data is used in smartphone applications such as SunSmart for daily UV readings in Australia; SafeAdviser for atmospheric indicators that can be applied globally; and DiscovAir for weather and environmental information that can help tourists in Greece to plan their day. Furthermore, ozone monitoring stations in the southern hemisphere use CAMS ozone-hole forecasts to time the release of their balloon sondes. These forecasts appear in the Antarctic Ozone Bulletins of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) every two weeks from August to November.

Ozone Day is a timely reminder of the environmental hazards caused by human activity on Earth. By monitoring the international community’s progress in repairing the ozone layer, CAMS provides policy makers with the tools to make informed decisions, while helping the general public to adapt to changing atmospheric conditions.

Read this and more and watch the video 'What Happened to the Ozone Hole?' at Copernicus’ website

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