Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010

Chapter 3 Scientific Summary

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Chapter 3 Authors and Contributors

Scientific Summary Chapter 3: Future Ozone and Its Impact on Surface UV

Globally averaged total column ozone has declined over recent decades due to the release of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) into the atmosphere. Now, as a result of the Montreal Protocol, ozone is expected to recover from the effects of ODSs as ODS abundances decline in the coming decades. However, a number of factors in addition to ODSs have led to and will continue to lead to changes in ozone. Discriminating between the causes of past and projected ozone changes is necessary, not only to identify the progress in ozone recovery from ODSs, but also to evaluate the effectiveness of climate and ozone protection policy options.

Factors Affecting Future Ozone and Surface Ultraviolet Radiation

Expected Future Changes in Ozone

Full ozone recovery from the effects of ODSs and return of ozone to historical levels are not synonymous. In this chapter a key target date is chosen to be 1980, in part to retain the connection to previous Ozone Assessments. Noting, however, that decreases in ozone may have occurred in some regions of the atmosphere prior to 1980, 1960 return dates are also reported.

The projections reported on in this chapter are taken from a recent compilation of CCM simulations. The ozone projections, which also form the basis for the UV projections, are limited in their representativeness of possible futures since they mostly come from CCM simulations based on a single GHG emissions scenario (scenario A1B of Emissions Scenarios. A Special Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, 2000) and a single ODS emissions scenario (adjusted A1 of the previous (2006) Ozone Assessment).

Throughout this century, the vertical, latitudinal, and seasonal structure of the ozone distribution will be different from what it was in 1980. For this reason, ozone changes in different regions of the atmosphere are considered separately.

Uncertainties in Projections

Expected Future Changes in Surface UV

While a number of factors, in addition to ozone, affect surface UV irradiance, the focus in this chapter is on the effects of changes in stratospheric ozone on surface UV. For this reason, clear-sky surface UV irradiance is calculated from ozone projections from CCMs.