Chincoteague, Virginia: on hurricane aircraft field mission at the Wallops Island Flight Facility, Paul Newman responds to the key questions on 14th Sept 2013. (more…)
Viticulture is famously sensitive to climate and changes in wine production have been used as a proxy to elucidate past climate change. I was interviewed on Canal+ D8 le JT in Paris on the study published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that existing vineyards in south of France are likely to vanish.
The Climate Change treaty, struggling to reach a global agreement has valuable lessons from the Montreal Protocol a remarkable success story. In the interview I outline the elements that can change the game.
In the Margins of UNFCCC meeting in Durban on 2 DEC 2011 , Busani Bafana , an award winning journalist from Africa speaks to the former Head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction programme, RAJENDRA SHENDE.
Rajendra Shende, Head of OzonAction, UNEP speaks to NASA scientist and co-chair of the Montreal Protocol Scientific Assessment Panel Dr. Paul Newman on 8th April 2011
The breaking news of record losses of the stratospheric ozone over the Arctic and northern Europe, thereby exposing large populations to the risk of elevated ultraviolet radiation (UV) is quite unsettling and disquieting.
Rajendra Shende requested Dr. Newman to briefly explain for the benefit of the National Ozone Units around the world two recent and apparently contradictory observations relating to levels of stratospheric ozone depletion. One report appeared to be very positive; the other seemed to be a serious warning:
- The loss of stratospheric ozone over Antarctica in September 2010 was one of the lowest on record.
- A record loss of stratospheric ozone was recorded over the Arctic in March 2011.
Mr. Shende: “How should National Ozone Officers engaged in implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which is considered to be a grand success, explain this situation to their Ministers and their fellow countrymen?”
Dr. Newman: “This low Arctic ozone is very interesting, but in the long term the ozone layer will recover thanks to the Montreal Protocol. Without the Montreal Protocol, this year’s ozone destruction would most likely have been worse. The slow recovery of the ozone layer is due to the fact that ozone-depleting substances stay in the atmosphere for several decades.”
Mr. Shende: “It is stated that the loss observed is also due to the very low stratospheric temperatures. What are the reasons for low temperatures?”
Dr. Newman: “The Arctic stratosphere has been abnormally cold during March because of a lack of weather systems. In a typical winter, we see a number of very large scale weather systems that move upward from the lower atmosphere, the troposphere, into the stratosphere. These weather systems warm up the Arctic during the winter and spring. Surprisingly, these weather systems have been rather weak this winter. The reason for the lack of weather systems is an area of active research.”
Mr. Shende: “UNEP and WMO early this year released the ‘Report of 2010 Assessment of the Scientific Assessment Panel’ which provides an objective synthesis of the impending recovery of Ozone Layer. How does this synthesis match with these recent observations?”
Dr. Newman: (emphatically) “This loss does not change the conclusion of Scientific Assessment Panel that Arctic ozone will continue to increase as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) decrease. The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty adopted under the UN umbrella in 1987 to protect the ozone layer – banning the production of ozone-depleting CFCs worldwide today. CFCs released during prior decades however, will take many decades to disappear. Until that time Arctic ozone levels are vulnerable, essentially depending on the year-to-year variations in March-April Arctic stratospheric temperatures at altitudes around 20 km.
It’s like an upset of a great soccer team – events occasionally happen to cause a great team to be poor while a poor team is great. In the end, it’s the entire season that counts.”
Paris-based Rajendra Shende has been leading the global battle to protect the ozone layer as director in the United Nations Environment Programme. He was Coordinating Lead Author of IPCC-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with Al Gore. The top notch Indian in UNEP has won several awards around the world. He was awarded USA’s prestigious Climate Protection award in 2009. His OzonAction Programme in 2005 became the first ever programme in the UN to win a USA award. In an interview, Shende outlines how the world, which is struggling to reach an agreement on climate change, can learn valuable lessons from the Montreal Protocol, a remarkable success story in whose implementation Shende has played a key role.
Is the Ozone hole recovering?
The Ozone Layer is scattering of the blue-tinged gas in the 35 Kms deep stratosphere that starts about 15 Kms above the earth. The Ozone gas is so thinly scattered, that if collected together, would form a girdle around the earth no thicker than the sole of a shoe. (more…)
Do you worry about the people who envy you?
Certainly you can never underestimate the level of malicious and envious people out there who are going to try to take advantage of whatever things there are. The priority for me is to do good work , better it and aim for the best . (more…)
As we said I would be very happy to make you an interview to publish on my national AC&R magazine (more…)
1. When and how did you get involved in the international effort about
In 1987 the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer was finalised through the negotiating process under the patronage of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It aimed at protecting our common natural resource i.e. Stratospheric Ozone Layer which is so vital to our life on the earth. (more…)