15 September, 2015

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

This week organisations around the world commemorate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on Wednesday 16 September.

This coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. UNEP’s Ozone Secretariat has launched this video:

The discovery of the ozone hole alerted the world to the dramatic and major environmental threat. The accumulation of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems, and industrial solvents were found to deplete the protective layer of ozone that surrounds the Earth. Action by governments around the world led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol and its amendments, which ensured that production and consumption of CFCs, halons and carbon tetrachloride were phased out by 2000, and methyl chloroform by 2005. All members of the United Nations have now signed the Montreal Protocol. Today, scientists predict that Antarctic ozone levels will return to their 1950s levels by about 2080.

BAS scientist Jonathan Shanklin, one of the trio who made the discovery in 1985, said:

“This discovery was a crucial reminder of the importance in investing in long-term monitoring, but perhaps the most startling lesson from the ozone hole is just how quickly our planet can change.

“If we hadn’t discovered the hole when we did, and the emission of CFCs had continued, we would have ozone depletion affecting the whole planet giving rise to a big increase in cases of skin cancer and cataracts.”

World Ozone day on Wednesday 16 September is highlighted with a special evening  lecture at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. The lecture is hosted at the Polar Museum, based at Scott Polar Research Institute as part of the Green Museums Project and was organised in association with the Cambridge Centre for Climate Science. At the event Jon Shanklin  will talk about how the team at BAS made the discovery and the events that unfolded. Professor John Pyle, from Cambridge University, will describe the latest research observations of the ozone layer and how the hole is slowly starting to recover. The lecture is now sold out, but will be webcast live from 6.00 – 7.30pm UK time here: https://cam.adobeconnect.com/ozone/