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Ozone-Climate Interactions

The ozone layer in the stratosphere protects the earth from harmful UV radiation. It is also an important factor determining the temperature distribution in the atmosphere. For this reason, changes of the ozone layer have an impact both on health/biology and on climate. At the same time, global change alters the temperature distribution and the concentration of trace substances in the stratosphere, causing feedback on ozone. The task of producing reliable forecasts of ozone depletion in the context of climate change therefore constitutes a challenge.

Important processes that must be taken into account in prognostic models as well as the distributions and budgets of relevant trace substances (e.g. halogens, stratospheric clouds) are studied with the help of aircraft and balloon measurements, and in laboratory experiments at IEK-7. The institute’s CLaMS model enables researchers to study the sensitivity of certain processes – which are determined in such field experiments, for example – to ozone distribution, and to perform tests for different climate scenarios.
IEK-7 is also assessing possible scenarios of future anthropogenic influences on the ozone layer, e.g. the introduction of hydrogen technology or speculations on applying geoengineering to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Selected research activities include:

Arctic ozone depletion on 2 February 2010 at an altitude of approx. 20 kilometres (in ppmv)Arctic ozone depletion on 2 February 2010 at an altitude of approx. 20 kilometres (in ppmv)