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“Ozone depletion is itself contributing to climate change” - UCC Professor co-authors latest UN report on the effects of ozone depletion

14 Mar 2019
Prof. Marcel Jansen

A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has shown strong interactions between climate change and stratospheric ozone levels.

In some regions ozone depletion is itself contributing to climate change by driving changes in temperature, precipitation and UV radiation.

The only Irish scientist on the report, Professor Marcel Jansen of the UCC Environmental Research Institute, assessed the effects of ozone depletion and the associated changes in the amount of harmful UV radiation (UV-B) on our ecosystems.

It was also found that in other cases the combination of ozone depletion, UV-B radiation and climate change all interact to impact negatively on terrestrial organisms and ecosystems, including agricultural systems.

 “Co-exposure to UV-B and drought, heat or elevated CO2 levels result in new challenges for living organisms,” noted Prof Jansen, “and for the scientists studying these interactive effects.”

Prof Jansen is a member of the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel, an international group of scientists, particularly experts in photobiology and photochemistry, who assess the impacts of ozone layer depletion and changes in UV-radiation as part of the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement to protect the Earth’s ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, such as CFC’s. From its initiation in 1987, the Montreal Protocol is an example of a highly successful international effort to protect the biosphere. In fact, the Montreal Protocol has already helped to avoid large, and potentially catastrophic, increases of solar UV-B radiation in the biosphere.

The 2018 report which has now been presented to all governments signed up to the Montreal Protocol, including Ireland, captures the latest scientific understanding on impacts of ozone layer depletion and places strong emphasis on the novel challenge of interactive effects of ozone depletion and climate change on human health and the environment.  It can be accessed at https://ozone.unep.org/science/assessment/eeap

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Press contact: Prof Marcel Jansen, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences & Environmental Research Institute, UCC, Cork (m.jansen@ucc.ie). Tel: (00353)021-4904558 or (00353) 086-2607216

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork

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