Monday, August 21, 2006

International Report Sees Delays In Ozone Recovery

Aug 18: The Executive Summary of a new scientific assessment by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and based on a full report prepared by over 250 international scientists, concludes among its findings that the stratospheric ozone layer that protects life on earth from excessive solar radiation will recover five to 15 years later than previously expected. According to the report, UNEP/WMO Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2006, the updated scientific understanding indicates that the ozone layer over the mid-latitudes (30° - 60° North and South) should recover by 2049, five years later than anticipated by the previous (2002) assessment. The ozone over the Antarctic should recover by 2065, 15 years later than once expected. Because of special conditions within the Antarctic vortex (a natural cyclone of super-cold, super-fast winds), the Antarctic ozone “hole” is expected to recur regularly for another two decades.

Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO said, “While these latest projections of ozone recovery are disappointing, the good news is that the level of ozone-depleting substances continues to decline from its 1992-94 peak in the troposphere and 1990s peak in the stratosphere. Global changes in climate suggest that atmospheric conditions are different today from those prior to periods marked by ozone depletion. This may have implications for ozone recovery. Maintaining and improving observational and assessment capabilities are critical in separating effects due to changes in climate from those in ozone -- depleting substances and will play a major role in verifying the effectiveness of actions taken under the 1985 Vienna Convention, the 1987 Montreal Protocol and its amendments.”

The next annual Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, to be held in New Delhi from October 30 to November 3, will consider the policy implications of the Executive Summary of the current report. The full body of the report, which was written and reviewed by over 250 experts from around the world, will be available in early 2007.

Access a release and links to related information (
click here). Access the Executive Summary (click here). [*Climate]