Why do we need to study ozone and synthetic greenhouse gas science?
In the 1970s and 1980s scientists discovered that use of some man-made chemicals was damaging the earth’s protective ozone layer. In response the international community began to phase out the production and use of those chemicals and replace them with less damaging chemicals. Ozone depleting substances have largely been replaced with synthetic greenhouse gases. Although synthetic greenhouse gases do not damage the ozone layer, they have global warming potential meaning they contribute to climate change. The first synthetic greenhouse gases developed had a high global warming potential. These are gradually being replaced by new synthetic greenhouse gases with lower global warming potentials.
Research is continuing into:
- the protection and recovery of the ozone layer,
- the development of suitable replacements for substances that deplete the ozone layer, and
- the development of suitable replacements for synthetic greenhouse gases with high global warming potential.
Read more about:
- The ozone layer
- Ozone depleting substances
- Synthetic greenhouse gases
- Global warming potential
- Resources for students and teachers
After the discovery that the ozone layer was being damaged, the international community agreed to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (the Vienna Convention). The Vienna Convention is the parent convention of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Montreal Protocol).
The Vienna Convention sets out obligations for countries to encourage and ensure ozone science research at the national level. Signatories to the Vienna Convention keep ozone science under regular review and consider the outcomes of key ozone research meetings and the quadrennial ozone assessments undertaken by the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol.
Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion
Scientists from around the world report to governments every four years on the state of the ozone layer through the Scientific Assessment Panel. Australian scientists played an important role in the development of the 2018 report.
- Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018 report
- Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018 executive summary
- Twenty Questions and Answers about the Ozone Layer
Stratospheric ozone research and data collection in Australia is carried out by a number of institutions, including the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Organisation (ARPANSA) and various universities.
Australian & Global emissions of Ozone Depleting Substances: June 2016, a report prepared by the CSIRO on behalf of the Department, provides measurements of ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere as well as global and Australian estimates of emissions of ozone depleting substances.
Southern hemisphere observation points are sparse and Australian observations are essential for analysis of global emissions and trends, and to provide data for global assessments. Links between climate change and ozone protection, and stratospheric and tropospheric processes are current areas of research for scientists, both in Australia and overseas.
The Department assists ozone research in Australia through: