NOAA Scientists Receive EPA Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award

May 17, 2007

In 1990, EPA established the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards to recognize exceptional leadership, personal dedication, and technical achievements in protecting the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. In the first eighteen years, The Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award has been presented to 509 individuals, organizations and teams from 42 countries. In 2007, 14 individuals, organizations, associations and teams earned the award through originality and public purpose, moral and persuasive leadership, and elimination of emissions of ozone-depleting substances.

Steve Montzka, Brad Hall, Jim Butler, and Jim Elkins of NOAA/ESRL and Geoff Dutton of CIRES received the 2007 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. EPA for "Measuring the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol in Reducing Chlorine/Bromine Loading and Repairing the Ozone Layer". The award was accepted by Steve Montzka on behalf of the group at a ceremony in the Ronald Reagan Building near EPA headquarters, Washington, D. C., May 2. Previous recipients of the award include Sherri Rowland, who received the 1995 Noble Prize in Chemistry for work on stratospheric ozone, Bob Watson of NASA and now of the World Bank, and Dan Albritton and Susan Solomon of NOAA/ESRL.

The NOAA/ESRL ozone-depleting gas measurement team began monitoring stratospheric ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbon-11 and -12 gases 30 years ago from a globally dispersed network of four atmospheric baseline stations and at a site at Niwot Ridge, Colorado. The network has grown over the intervening years to include over 20 sampling locations and an additional 20 other trace gases of atmospheric interest. The award winning team reported the first measured declines in ozone depleting substances (ODS) in the troposphere in response to the controls on the production of these trace gases following the 1987 Montreal Protocol.

Guiding the recovery of stratospheric ozone is an important part of NOAA's mission, since the Administrators of NOAA and NASA are required to report to Congress, every four years, a scientific assessment of stratospheric ozone depletion under the US Clean Air Act of 1990. An international version of the 2006 assessment, made available in April, is co-sponsored and published by NOAA, NASA, the United Nations Environmental Programme, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the European Commission. The NOAA data were also used in the 2007 international climate change assessment for the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, since many of these trace gases are also important greenhouse gases. The research performed by the NOAA team plays a central role in those assessments. This work addresses objectives in the Climate Forcing Program of NOAA's Climate Goal.

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