30 years of healing the ozone layer

Launching a weather balloon.
Launching a weather balloon (ozone sonde). (Photo: Grant Dixon)
Summary of ozone partial pressure as a function of height and time obtained from ozonesonde measurements at Davis, 2015.Stratospheric clouds, seen here illuminated by the sun during twilight

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. The Convention was signed at the Vienna Conference on ozone layer depletion in 1985. Together with the Montreal Protocol (which was agreed on 16 September 1987, and entered into force on 1 January 1989), the Convention acts as a framework for international efforts to protect the ozone layer.

If our world’s entire atmosphere was at sea-level pressure and temperature, it would be about 8000 m deep. However the ozone layer would occupy only 3 mm of that depth. Without this thin layer we are at the mercy of the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet light. Fortunately, as a result of concerted global efforts, the ozone layer is healing and is expected to be largely recovered by the middle of this century.

Scientists at the Australian Antarctic Division and collaborating institutions continue to research the effects of ozone change on Antarctic climate and ecosystems using observations and the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) climate model. This work is underpinned by measurements of atmospheric ozone concentrations at Macquarie Island and Davis, led by the Bureau of Meteorology. At Davis, additional support for the measurements is provided by the Antarctic Division and the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences.

Check out our Twitter feed throughout the day to see what Macquarie Island-based meteorologist Dan Laban has to say about monitoring ozone in the subantarctic.

Follow the links below for further information about ozone and ozone research.