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York’s major role in scientific assessment of ozone depletion

Posted on 11 September 2014

Professor Lucy Carpenter, from the University of York's Chemistry department has played a key role in a major new scientific assessment of the ozone layer which will inform government policies across the globe.

Lucy Carpenter

York’s major role in scientific assessment of ozone depletion

A researcher from the University of York has played a key role in a major new scientific assessment of the ozone layer which will inform government policies across the globe.

Professor Lucy Carpenter, from York’s Department of Chemistry, acted as a Chapter Lead Author for the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2014.  The Assessment for Decision-Makers, a summary document of the assessment, is published this week.

The assessment is conducted under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and co-sponsored by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Commission.  It is written and reviewed by leading experts in the international atmospheric sciences community at the request of the Parties to the U.N. Montreal Protocol and contains the most up-to-date understanding of ozone depletion.  The assessment will guide policymakers as they strengthen the original provisions of the Montreal Protocol.

The 2014 assessment concludes that actions taken under the Montreal Protocol have led to decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), with expected return of the ozone layer toward 1980 levels by mid century in midlatitudes and the Arctic, and somewhat later in the Antarctic.  It also finds that, whist the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments and adjustments have made large contributions toward reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, thesecould be significantly offset in the future by projected emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) currently used as ODS replacements

 Professor Carpenter said: “The report – the first comprehensive update in four years - analyses the impact on the Earth’s protective ozone layer of concerted international action since the adoption of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. It also assesses the implications of the phase out of ozone-depleting substances on efforts to address climate change.”

Professor Carpenter’s chapter of the report concentrated on ozone-depleting substances and other gases of interest to the Montreal Protocol. Some of the work cited in this section of the assessment was carried out by researchers based at York.

Professor Carpenter said: “Research at the University of York has contributed to the assessment by determining trends and abundances of ODSs and their substitutes in the atmosphere and by assessing the contributions of natural compounds to ozone depletion”

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