Research carried out in the Arctic circle with support from the European Community's Environment and Climate programme has shown that extensive destruction of the ozone layer has occurred for the third winter in succession. The research shows up to 40% ozone depletion in areas of the northern hemisphere. The biggest losses were found in the polar vertex, a meteorological feature which stayed close to the North Pole throughout the winter. Ozone depletion has been caused by lower than normal temperatures as well as the presence of man-made pollutants, principally by-products of degraded CFCs. Some 34 projects in this area have been funded by the Environment and Climate programme since the beginning of 1996. These projects have involved over 200 participants from 20 European countries, as well as Canada, Japan, Russia and the USA, and have concentrated on field measurements of ozone loss during the winter and spring of 1996/1997. Some of these projects were part of long-term on-going monitoring using balloons and ground-based instruments. Other projects supported included: - The Airborne Polar Experiment, in which the converted Russian spy plane, Geophysika, flew over the Arctic; - The DLR Falcon was improved, allowing more effective measurements of chlorine-containing chemicals in the atmosphere; - The MIR balloon platform provided long-duration stratospheric balloon flights, taking measurements of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and other substances; - A balloon measurement campaign was launched from Kiruna in Sweden to validate the measurements of the Japanese satellite ILAS; - A series of small balloon flights, which tracked air masses, measured "in situ" ozone loss; - The Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) satellite produced near-real-time maps of total ozone, which were used in the planning of field experiments and provided up-to-date information about the state of the ozone layer.
Policy making and guidelines
23 January 1997