Ozone layer over Western Europe falls by two-thirds
Friday 03 December 1999
The finding prompted the British scientist who discovered the hole in the Antarctic ozone layer to warn Western countries against complacency about the effects of treaties such as the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which bans the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals that destroy ozone.
"Politicians are very taken with the idea that they have cured the ozone layer because of the Montreal Protocol, but they don't realise that it's not like switching a button," said Joe Farman of the European Ozone Research Co-ordinating Unit in Cambridge.
The ESA said measurements taken in the Netherlands showed local ozone levels were about two-thirds below the norm for this time of year. The readings show the depth of the layer over northern Europe is 165 Dobson Units. The "safe" value is taken to be 200 DU or more.
A gradual thinning of the ozone layer caused by emissions of damaging man-made chemicals such as CFCs has increased the occurrence of skin cancer and other illnesses related to over-exposure to ultraviolet rays. CFCs survive in the stratosphere for many years, accelerating the breakdown of ozone there.
However, Mr Farman said the present hole over Europe, which has lasted for three days and is larger than France and Spain, is probably less harmful because of the time of year. "The sun is low in the sky, so you're getting less UV anyway than if it was summer and you were sunbathing."
Today is the end of a five-day international meeting in Peking, intended to speed the phasing out of ozone-eating gases. Non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace, have criticised the UN for moving too slowly to ban the use of CFCs and related chemicals in developing countries.
- 1 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...