June 19, 2024

The Ozone Layer: A Hole New World [Video]

Earths Ozone Hole 2020. Credit: ESA
In the 1980s, researchers discovered a gaping hole in Earths ozone layer, triggered by humanmade chemicals. Decades later, we can see the constant healing of the ozone hole. Join us as we check out the journey of the ozone hole, from its alarming discovery to the unbelievable strides made to fix it, and how satellites are helping us track its recovery.

Video Transcript:

In the 1980s, scientists discovered an open hole in Earths ozone layer, triggered by humanmade chemicals. Thanks to the historic Montreal Protocol, the world came together to take strong action to save our world. Decades later, we can see the constant recovery of the ozone hole. Join us as we check out the journey of the ozone hole, from its worrying discovery to the incredible strides made to repair it, and how satellites are assisting us track its recovery.

It restricts both the intake and production of these ozone-depleting substances making it one of the most successful International contracts in history.

The 80s– some would state the coolest of all years. However then news broke.
Scientists studying the environment over the polar areas are now completely encouraged that man-made CFC gases have badly harmed the ozone layer.
[Music] A hole in the ozone layer was discovered, and we were on track to destroy it by 2050.
Without the ozone layer, harmful radiation would reach us, with serious consequences for life on Earth.
Today, we all know the good news. Earths ozone layer is on track to make a complete healing.
In an extraordinary act, a landmark arrangement was signed, preventing a prospective environmental disaster. Well how did we do it and what does space have to do with it?
Lets begin with the basics. The ozone layer is a thin part of Earths environment that absorbs the majority of the ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
When diminished, this radiation can reach the surface area causing damage to people and other living things.
[Music] Ultraviolet rays damage DNA and cause sunburn, increasing the long-term risk of problems such as skin cancer.
What triggered the ozone hole in the very first place?
Chemicals utilized as refrigerants for air conditioning unit, spray cans, and fridges called chlorofluorocarbons were blamed for gnawing at the ozone layer.
In 1985, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey discovered the very low ozone concentrations over Antarctica and raised the alarm.
They realized that the seasonal loss was worsening each year. Shortly after, the Montreal Protocol was signed by every country in the world. It limits both the intake and production of these ozone-depleting substances making it among the most effective International agreements in history.
An amazing thing, when thinking about that, is to keep in mind that it just took two years for the world to notice the caution that the hole in the ozone layer was damaging the entire world. For the countries of the world to act and that conserved the world from significant damage.
Today the ozone layer is slowly recovering and is helping to Shield us from the terrible results of ultraviolet radiation. And by 2050, it is predicted to make a full recovery.
How do we make sure were on track?
Satellites orbiting above us combined with ground-based measurements are the finest way to do this.
ESA has actually been keeping track of the ozone for over two years. Ozone data was provided by three key satellites: ERS-2, Envisat, and EUMETSATs Metop satellites.
In 2017, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite was introduced. Sentinel-5P with its Tropomi instrument supplies a series of trace gas measurements in nadir view, this indicates overall columns, and one of them is a total ozone.
What is actually important for the Tropomi instrument, it provides this information with an international coverage on a daily basis and due to its level of sensitivity with a high accuracy.
So just how huge is the ozone hole now?
As we know, the size of the ozone hole fluctuates regularly. Some years the ozone hole is bigger and longer lasting than others.
Typically from August to October, the ozone hole increases in size reaching its maximum in between mid-september and mid-october.
With the Tropomi instrument on the satellite Sentinel-5P we kept track of throughout the year 2022 a quite big ozone hole over the South Pole. This ozone hole had the more or less exact same extension and period as throughout the years 2021 and 2020.
In comparison to this, we saw during 2019 an extremely unique incident of an ozone hole that was actually much smaller sized than all other ozone holes and this was caused by warm air slowing down the winds around the South Pole.
[Music] When the Antarctic hole eventually shrinks, its forecasted to be smaller sized than 8 million square kilometers.
[Music] Sentinel-5Ps ozone information is likewise utilized for day-to-day projections of ultraviolet radiation and supports public caution systems.
This allows individuals in certain areas to pick whether to stay inside your home on days when ozone concentration is particularly low.
The information also filters into the Copernicus environment monitoring service. This service combines measurements from various satellites and ground-based sensing units with mathematical designs to supply policymakers with information about the state of the ozone layer as well as anticipate how it will alter in the future.
At the minute, our satellites supply us with a down view of ozone concentrations. However these data do not reveal us how the ozone differs with height.
But soon, a new satellite scanning the atmosphere will offer us with a brand-new view of ozone profiles.
The Atmospheric Limb Tracker for the Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere satellite or ALTIUS will bring a high-resolution imager that observes ozone backwards. But what does that mean precisely?
Sentinel-5P is a satellite that is looking downwards offering overall ozone columns, whereas the future satellite Mission ALTIUS is looking backwards scanning the atmosphere and offering a height resolved profiles of ozone. And the benefit of these profiles is that they can be utilized in modeling and by using this profile information you get better forecasts of the ozone as compared to using overall ozone columns.
This limb sounding method will enable ozone to be viewed at different altitudes supplying us with a better Insight in monitoring long-term ozone patterns.
The satellite objective ALTIUS is really extremely essential as it will extend vertically resolve the details of Trace gases in the atmosphere current existing satellites that are supplying this info are already quite old so were really anticipating this European Mission that will contribute to this type of tracking of the atmosphere.
In addition to ALTIUS the upcoming Copernicus Sentinel 4 and Sentinel 5 missions will likewise keep track of air quality. Both satellites will offer details on climatic gases including ozone to support European policies.
What have we learned?
The production and intake of ozone-eating substances have dropped and today the ozone hole has stopped growing and is now slowly diminishing.
Satellite information are critical for ozone monitoring.
Quick ozone action sets a precedent for environment action and demonstrates what occurs when Nations get together we can make an impact.