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Annex VIII : Summary of presentation on the eighth meeting of the Ozone Research Managers of the Parties to the Vienna Convention [11]

1. The 8th Ozone Research Managers (ORM) meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland (2-4 May 2011) in accordance with decisions I/6 and III/8 of the Conference of the Parties. As in the past, this ORM report is highly complementary to the recent WMO-UNEP Scientific Assessments, but has a distinctly different purpose. Both the report and the assessments are required under the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol. However, the Assessments enable the Parties to evaluate control measures under the Protocol and are communication devices between the research community (striving for better understanding) and decision makers (seeking informed action). The Assessments are neither policy recommendations nor research planning documents but provide input for both. The ORM reports, on the other hand, specifically address research and monitoring needs in light of scientific understanding from the assessments and make detailed recommendations to the Parties regarding international actions for improved research coordination and networking.

2. After a review of the recommendations from the 7th ORM Meeting and of activities under the Vienna Convention Trust Fund, the 8th ORM meeting continued with a number of invited presentations on the state of the ozone layer and its interactions with climate change. Subsequent talks summarized international research and monitoring programs and international satellite programs and were followed by national and regional reports of ozone and UV research and monitoring activities. This suite of presentations provided the bases for recommendations in the four principal areas of research needs, systematic observations, data archiving, and capacity building.

3. There are many questions that remain on the expected ozone recovery from the influence of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), especially with respect to the interactions between ozone depletion and climate change. Recent research reveals that ozone depletion has affected tropospheric climate and it is becoming clearer that greenhouse gases (GHGs) are altering the stratosphere, with a cooling of the upper stratosphere by GHGs expected to exceed 5K between the years 2000 and 2100. The ability to predict future ozone behavior requires further improvements in the quantification of the roles of chemical and dynamical processes responsible for ozone production, loss, transport, and distribution, and their respective uncertainties. The development of realistic scenarios of the future abundances of anthropogenic and biogenic trace gases in the stratosphere and troposphere is required, particularly with respect to a changing climate. Simulations from the 2010 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion indicate future increases of UV levels in the tropics, but decreases at mid- and high latitudes due to ozone changes. The 2010 report of the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP) concluded that research on the impacts of increases in UV radiation resulting from stratospheric ozone depletion has substantially advanced the understanding of the processes by which changes in UV radiation affect a range of organisms and processes. Recent research has highlighted the interactions between the diverse effects of changing UV radiation due to ozone depletion and the effects of climate change. These interactions may lead to feedbacks into climate change (e.g., modification of carbon cycling in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems), but this remains poorly defined.

4. Coupled chemistry-climate models (CCMs) are more mature, but it is clear that more effort must be devoted to model improvement and validation. Earth System Models that include crude stratospheric ozone parameterizations are being developed, and these models should begin to incorporate improved CCM treatments of the solar forcing, dynamics, radiation, and photochemistry of ozone. In addition, long-term measurements represent an extremely important resource, and the continued and increased exploitation of these data for scientific process studies is strongly recommended. The dramatic contrast between the unusually large 2010 Northern Hemisphere ozone columns and the extreme 2011 Arctic ozone depletion has highlighted the close connection between ozone, meteorology, and climate. Finally, there is still a need for fundamental laboratory studies to estimate photochemical reaction rates, and to refine and update older measurements. In particular, photochemical parameters to improve our understanding of long-lived species and new industrial compounds in the atmosphere are very important.

5. Systematic observations are critical to understanding and monitoring long-term changes in atmospheric composition and the associated response in ground-level UV radiation. The ability to predict expected ozone recovery in a changing atmosphere and to understand the interactions with a changing climate requires observations of key trace gases and parameters highlighting the role of chemical and dynamical processes. Vertically resolved measurements, especially in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS) region and in the upper stratosphere, are of prime importance. Global data networks thus provide the backbone of our understanding of ozone, ozone- and climate-related trace gases, and UV, and involve many nations around the world. Their operations also provide training for atmospheric scientists in both developed and developing countries. The demands on these networks are high, in that they provide the basis for all research activities and decision-making. These networks fall into two categories, ground-based (including balloons) and space-based and their combined utilization place new demands of their operations and reporting.

6. Data archiving continues to be recognized as an essential component of all atmospheric measurements. While several notable achievements have been made in response to the recommendations in the 7th ORM meeting report, the continuing need for fully implementing other 7th ORM recommendations was emphasized. For example, before being archived, all data must be quality assured and include the metadata required by users. Other recommendations included the need for the recovery and assessment of historical data, the development of standard data quality assurance procedures, enhanced linkage among data centers (O3, UV, GHG, etc.) to ensure availability for validation and modeling efforts, and archiving of data obtained from regional process studies for improved accessibility.

7. While there has also been progress in capacity building since the 7th ORM, much remains to be accomplished. A number of key activities have been undertaken over the last three years that have had significant impact. Examples of some specific activities that could be conducted in the near term were presented. It was further recommended that specific metrics be developed for better assessing the success of capacity building over the next few years.

8. The full report of the 8th Meeting of Ozone Research Managers includes summaries of all of the oral presentations and all of the submitted national reports. It is available as “WMO Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project, Report No. 51”.

[11] The summary in the present annex appears as submitted by the presenter, without formal editing.