As a major finding of the EU project RECONCILE, which was completed in February 2013, it is expected that, according to recent measurements, the ozone layer over the North Pole should recover by the end of the century. Scientists from 35 research institutions, among them the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of DLR, and universities in 14 countries spent four years investigating the chemical process of ozone depletion. Their findings verified once again that chlorine compounds are indeed responsible for this. The scientists used the new insights to improve existing climate models. These models facilitate more reliable predictions on how the ozone layer will develop in future and on the possible consequences of climate change for the stratosphere.
To achieve these results, the researchers performed numerous laboratory experiments, field measurements and computer simulations. One of the highlights was a measurement campaign with the M55 Geophysica. The Russian plane is the only European research aircraft capable of flying at altitudes of up to 21 kilometres. Between January and March 2010, the Geophysica flew over the Arctic thirteen times collecting samples and data. Preparing and conducting the measurement flights at ground temperatures of up to minus 40 °C was a unique challenge faced by those involved in the campaign.
Even if the ozone layer recovers, climate change could alter the underlying conditions. Climate change could alter the temperature, circulation patterns and chemical composition in the stratosphere. This also influences the ozone layer, which in turn has a bearing on temperature.
Contact: Hans Schlager
Link: RECONCILE Webseite (at Forschungszentrum Jülich)