Ozone trends: A review
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2010
Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.
Reviews of Geophysics
Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 231–290, May 2001
How to Cite
2001), Ozone trends: A review, Rev. Geophys., 39(2), 231–290, doi:10.1029/1999RG000059., , , and (
- Issue published online: 14 JUN 2010
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2010
Ozone plays a very important role in our atmosphere because it protects any living organisms at the Earth's surface against the harmful solar UVB and UVC radiation. In the stratosphere, ozone plays a critical role in the energy budget because it absorbs both solar UV and terrestrial IR radiation. Further, ozone in the tropopause acts as a strong greenhouse gas, and increasing ozone trends at these altitudes contribute to climate change. This review contains a short description of the various techniques that provided atmospheric ozone measurements valuable for long-term trend analysis. The anthropogenic emissions of substances that deplete ozone (chlorine- and bromine-containing volatile gases) have increased from the 1950s until the second half of the 1980s. The most severe consequence of the anthropogenic release of ozone-depleting substances is the “Antarctic ozone hole.” Long-term observations indicate that stratospheric ozone depletion in the southern winter-spring season over Antarctica started in the late 1970s, leading to a strong decrease in October total ozone means. Present values are only approximately half of those observed prior to 1970. In the Arctic, large ozone depletion was observed in winter and spring in some recent years. Satellite and ground-based measurements show no significant trends in the tropics but significant long-term decreasing trends in the northern and southern midlatitudes (of the order of 2–4% per decade in the period from 1970 to 1996 and an acceleration in trends in the 1980s). Ozone at northern midlatitudes decreased by −7.4±2% per decade at 40 km above mean sea level, while ozone loss was small at 30 km. Large trends were found in the lower stratosphere, −5.1±1.8% at 20 km and −7.3±4.6% at 15 km, where the bulk of the ozone resides. The possibility of a reduction in the observed trends has been discussed recently, but it is very hard to distinguish this from the natural variability. As a consequence of the Montreal Protocol process, the emissions of ozone-depleting substances have decreased since the late 1980s. Chlorine is no longer increasing in the stratosphere, although the total bromine amount is still increasing. Considering anthropogenic emissions of substances that deplete ozone, the turnaround in stratospheric ozone trends is expected to take place in the coming years. However, anthropogenic climate change could have a large influence on the future evolution of the Earth's ozone shield.