The impact of ozone depletion on the flux of ultraviolet radiation in Iowa

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Project Investigator(s): 
GR Carmichael, KC Krist, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, The University of Iowa

Anthropogenic emissions of chloroflurocarbons have been associated with the destruction of stratospheric ozone documented over the last decade. Stratospheric ozone depletion was originally associated with the polar regions of the southern hemisphere, but recent data have shown a decline in the total ozone column over a majority of the globe. A downward trend of 0.4-0.8% per year over the last decade has been documented. Such decreases potentially will have negative effects on human health (skin cancer, cataracts, and immunological impacts), and terrestrial plant life, including agricultural products. Measuring ground level ultra-violet radiation, specifically UV-B has proven problematic due to an incomplete global collection system. Measurements in populated areas tended to show no decrease in the total ozone column due to increased amounts of ozone in the troposphere as a result of pollution. This negated decreases of ozone in the stratosphere. Analysis of total ozone measurements in Iowa over the last decade showed significant seasonal downward trends. Surface level ozone concentrations remained relatively constant, while negative trends in the stratospheric ozone continued for this period. Under current negative trends in stratospheric ozone loss and the relatively low ground level pollution Iowa experiences, Iowa is susceptible to ground level radiative increases. During the summer months, total ozone over Iowa is at a minimum. This trend may have significant health impacts. The Department of Energy provided additional funding to continue research.


Crist KC, Carmichael GR, Kuruvilla J; UV-B Exposure and Atmospheric Ozone Evaluation of Radioactive Flux to Changes in Ambient Ozone Levels. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 1994; 37:527-538