Table of Contents

Measuring Environmental Degradation

Measuring Environmental Degradation

Developing Pressure Indicators for Europe

Edited by Anil Markandya and Nick Dale

Measuring Environmental Degradation is a unique book that provides a comprehensive yet concise overview of the key issues of environmental significance addressed as part of the Eurostat ‘Environmental Pressure Indicators Project’. The book is part of the ‘Towards Environmental Pressure Indicators for the EU’ (TEPI) series that has resulted from the project.

Chapter 18: Ozone layer depletion

M.-L. Chanin

Subjects: environment, environmental sociology


M.-L. Chanin 1. POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF OZONE DEPLETION Three sets of recent observations can explain the concern of all European countries about the issue of ozone depletion, and their support for fundamental scientific research aimed at obtaining a better understanding and forecasting of the problem. First, the decrease in total ozone is confirmed to be about 5 per cent per decade at mid-latitudes in the northern hemisphere, with a maximum of 6 per cent to 8 per cent in winter and spring, increasing with latitude. Current models including our understanding of chemical, dynamic and radiative processes can reproduce the observed depletion qualitatively; however, to date the simulated depletion is smaller than that observed. Second, the Antarctic ‘ozone hole’ continues to be observed each austral spring, with a decrease of up to 60 per cent in total ozone. During the winters 1994–95, 1995–96 and 1996–97 in the northern hemisphere, total ozone decreased by as much as 30 per cent over large areas in February–March. This situation was due to the particularly low temperature of the lower stratosphere. Third, recent reliable results from continuous measurements at a number of stations show an increase in UV-B radiation, mostly in the southern hemisphere, but also locally at mid- and high latitudes in the northern hemisphere. Traditionally the main concern of the population and policy-makers regarding ozone depletion has been its potential impact on human health, and more precisely on the occurrence of skin cancer and cataracts, due to...

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