Measuring Environmental Degradation
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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.
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Chapter 17: The ozone depletion problem

I.S.A. Isaksen


I.S.A. Isaksen 1. THE SCIENTIFIC ISSUE The ozone depletion issue has been on the scientific agenda almost continuously since Paul Crutzen (1971) and Harold Johnston (1971) pointed out that a projected fleet of supersonic aircraft could harm the protecting ozone shield around the earth. At that time it had been shown through measurements that ozone was present in the stratosphere in amounts sufficient to filter out harmful solar radiation. It was also known that ozone was generated in the stratosphere through the photodissociation of molecular oxygen by shortwave solar radiation (Chapman, 1930), and that redistribution by transport processes taking place in the lower stratosphere, at heights between approximately 15 and 30 km, played a significant role in ozone distribution. There is a large variation in ozone distribution and in the column amount of ozone, with latitude and longitude, and with season. This temporal and spatial variation in ozone was well known before the ozone depletion issue was raised. It was well recognized by the beginning of the 1970s that the key point in the ozone depletion issue is how the chemical loss process controls the overall ozone distribution in the stratosphere through different catalytic chemical reactions. Our present state of knowledge of the ozone depletion problem is a result of a large and concentrated research effort over more than 25 years, where the focus has been on understanding man’s impact on stratospheric ozone through the emission of certain chemical compounds (for example nitrogen, chlorine and bromine-containing compounds)...

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