Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer has fulfilled the task, say scientists

The Montreal Protocol, which on Sunday marks 25 years, had served its purpose — observations show that ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere is reduced, and the scientific community through an agreement made great progress in the understanding of atmospheric processes related to the ozone layer, said RIA Novosti Russia's representative to International Commission on Ozone, a leading researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the RAS Obukhov Alexander Gruzdev.

Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was signed in September 1987. Protocol that restricts the production and trafficking of ozone-depleting substances, and the convention in 2009, became the first global agreement that all countries have ratified the United Nations. The report Global Environment Outlook, prepared by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), called the protection of the ozone layer of one of the four key environmental issues in the decision which mankind has made significant advances.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Protocol says that the protocol "is probably by far the best example of global cooperation to solve environmental problems." According to him, the history of the agreement gives an idea of the benefits of the transition to a "green" economy, since its adoption, in addition to environmental benefits, also spurred innovation in the chemical and engineering industries.

"Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, not only has successfully resolve urgent problems, but also an excellent example and a source of inspiration, allow to solve other global problems and thus take advantage of opportunities in the service of progress," — said the Secretary General.

Mission accomplished

Gruzdev in an interview with RIA Novosti noted that both the agreement designed to eliminate ozone-depleting CFCs, the Montreal Protocol had served its purpose.

"A report was sent to contain chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, in this sense, it's done, because production had actually … Anyway, the scientific goal of reducing ozone-depleting gases (completed) — well, then really what then, all production stopped, "- said the source.

According to him, the observations show that the content of ozone-depleting gases in the atmosphere is reduced, however, as noted Gruzdev, in Russia, such observations do not, and "we have them (foreign scientists — Ed.) Oppose anything we can not, because we have similar measurements no. "

"In this part, we just have to take into account that with which Western science comes to the political level," — said the scientist.

According Gruzdev, not least, that this complex problem, which has "and politicized, and economic," has become a catalyst for scientific research into the physics of the atmosphere and, in particular, the ozone layer.

"Overall, I would say that a very large scientific work carried out in this area … has been received benefits and the purely scientific, which always pay off sometime. Were conducted very serious scientific work, which without the consequent (the process) funding was would be impossible. was serious breakthrough in the field of modeling, laboratory experiments, "- said the expert.

Ozone Trends

As noted in the special report of UNEP, was prepared for the 25th anniversary of the Protocol, the ozone in the stratosphere has ceased to decline since 1998, and is projected to scientists, to the years 2050-2075 can return to the levels fixed until 1980. In 2011, a group of Australian scientists published an article which concluded that gradually decrease in size and became a seasonal ozone hole over Antarctica, which, according to their data, from the late 1990s "dragged" by about 15%.

Gruzdev said that the restoration of ozone are more dependent on the ability to model, as the object of research, the ozone layer is extremely difficult.

"The model itself is also a very complex instrument, the models are different, and they give different predictions, but in general, these big powerful models predict that, other things being equal, the stratospheric ozone recovers, the Arctic sometime after 2050, even later for Antarctica . But all things being equal, if the atmosphere itself does not change, "- said Gruzdev.

Natural variability of the atmosphere, according to the scientist, and difficult to predict what will happen to the ozone layer further.

"In principle, nothing can be ruled out because there is a natural variability of the atmosphere, even if one effect, then highlight this effect is very difficult. Changes natural atmosphere alone, this thing is so hard to predict — we even can not predict the weather in, say , a month in advance, and these processes are at the scale of decades. What happens to the atmosphere in 20 years, hardly anyone says, "- said Gruzdev.

Blame it freons

According to the scientist, one hundred percent certainty that the observed decrease of ozone in the stratosphere was connected with the impact of CFCs, no, because the issue is too complex for such inconclusive.

"Here we are limited to what we are dealing with nature, and we can never create the conditions for a pure experiment, as in other areas of physics and chemistry. So there is always uncertainty," — said Gruzdev.

However, he said, is "very convincing evidence that the CFC-free yet here is not done." CFCs lead to the formation in the atmosphere is very active substances, which can be very actively destroy ozone.

"Freon, in general, are responsible for a large portion of these ozone-destroying radicals, which are normally ineffective simply because they have a small lifetime, and they do not have time to destroy ozone strongly," — said Gruzdev.

Where a leaky

The efficiency with which these substances destroy ozone, depending on external conditions. So, in Antarctica at the bottom of the stratosphere at altitudes of 15-18 km the lifetime of these radicals increases. It was there in 1985, there were strong reduction of ozone, which also has been called "ozone hole."

"It turned out, after years of research, that these (Antarctic) conditions at these altitudes at very low temperatures, a so called polar stratospheric clouds. Polar clouds are on the chemical processes that cause the so-called denitrification atmosphere — roughly speaking, some nitrogen compounds pass from the air these polar clouds, "- said Gruzdev, adding that these nitrogen compounds in normal inhibited ozone-depleting chlorine radicals.

"These changes in the Antarctic stratosphere, 25 years ago (when the first hole was fixed — ed.) Occurred by themselves, naturally, and they were due to human influence — is a moot point. Probably themselves, yes, but so far This situation persists until the ozone hole over Antarctica every year there, "- said Gruzdev.

He noted that, since before that time, the instrumental observations in the region was a little difficult to say with certainty that before 1985, the seasonal ozone hole is not there.

In 2010, the first time scientists have observed a similar situation, and at the other end of the planet — a strong decline of ozone have been recorded in the Arctic, reminded Gruzdev.

"Create an environment more dynamic in the Arctic that year was a low temperature, and also formed, apparently, these clouds," — said the scientist.

Ozone is no protocol

The scientist said that the global ozone changes until the "relatively small" and the most significant this effect is seen in the polar regions, and not in the middle latitudes. However, this does not mean that is outside of the Antarctic ozone CFCs are safe, and in a world without the Montreal Protocol, the only problem would be only seasonal hole over the sparsely populated polar regions.

"It's not obvious. Firstly, in the spring, when the polar latitudes are warming, destroyed vortex constrains exchange (air) between the latitudes, ozone-depleted air and ozone-depleting substances that have accumulated there, and can penetrate into the middle latitudes, and the effect of lowering the total ozone can be noticeable and over mid-latitudes, "- said Gruzdev.

To think of a hypothetical situation, a world without the ozone layer, a little easier. Gruzdev recalled that all the life that exists on Earth today, was formed even in the presence of ozone, so the absence of the ozone layer, retarding biologically active solar radiation, would lead to the disappearance of "not designed" to that of living organisms.

"Sudden death, probably would not, but it would probably crash. Ozone is the same — a gas which is not so, as oxygen is needed, of course, but it provides the conditions for the biota," — said the scientist.

Two problems

Another global issue of climate change, according to some scientists, may also affect the state of the ozone layer and the ozone layer, in turn, — the climate. Gruzdev noted that both effects are too complex to clearly speak about any consequences.

"All of these predictions are based on models, the models are not perfect, the results depend on how it was built, how tested and so on. Earth — in fact a complex system, it's not only the atmosphere here and the ocean, and ice, and all together, "- said the scientist.

"The impact of ozone on climate and its quantitative characteristics it is difficult to assess. So there are a lot of arbitrariness to some sort of speech and other things, but in fact there are a lot of unknown," — he added.

One consequence of the Montreal Protocol is the global displacement of CFCs with other substances, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Chemically safer for the ozone layer, these compounds, however, were much more powerful greenhouse gases.

"That is, if there will be many, and the industry is producing them, and will probably produce, because we have a lot tied to this, the same refrigeration … if their production will continue, it is possible that there will be some- the consequences, not for ozone and climate, "- said Gruzdev.

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