The ozone layer
The stratospheric ozone layer protects us from potentially harmful ultra-violet radiation emitted by the sun, known as UV-B and UV-C. The ozone layer, however, is vulnerable. Some molecules produced during our industrial history - such as CFCs - are able to destroy ozone.
What the EU is doing
Europe launched large coordinated research efforts via the European framework programmes for research and technological development to understand the causes of stratospheric ozone depletion and to predict its future evolution. Research results lead to a ban of a variety of ozone depleting substances, which is now showing the first positive results, with the ozone layer now returning to previous levels. Research has played an essential role to identifying the problem, understanding the mechanism and elaborating solutions, paving the way to effective legislation.
The joint science-policy effort to protect the stratospheric ozone layer is a remarkable success story of european framework programmes and international research collaboration, but it took 30 years from the detection and understanding of ozone depletion, the policy actions and ban, to detect first signs of recovery: we need to remember that successful environmental research requires sustained effort.
Read some of the success stories of EU funded research relating to the ozone layer
- No laughing matter: nitrous oxide - another climate enemy
- New research reveals a win-win in the fight against climate change and air pollution
- Our impact today on tomorrow's world
- International network for the detection of atmospheric composition change (NDACC)
- European arctic stratospheric ozone experiment (EASOE, 1991-92)
- Second european stratospheric arctic and mid-latitude experiment (SESAME, 1994-95)
- The third european stratospheric experiment on ozone (THESEO, 1998-2000)
- Airborne antarctic ozone experiment (AAOE)