Attempts to probe the ozone layer and the ultraviolet-B levels of the past
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
To get a proper perspective on the current status of atmospheric ozone, which protects the biosphere from ultraviolet-B (UV-B; 280-315 nm) radiation, it would be of value to know how ozone and UV-13 radiation have varied in the past. The record of worldwide ozone monitoring goes back only a few decades, and the record of reliable UV-13 measurements is even shorter. Here we review indirect methods to assess their status further back in time. These include variations in the Sun's emission and how these affect the atmosphere, changes in the Earth's orbit, geologic imprints of atmospheric ozone, effects of catastrophic events such as volcanic eruptions, biological proxies of UV-13 radiation, the spectral signature of terrestrial ozone in old recordings of star spectra, and the modeling of UV-B irradiance from ozone data and meteorological recordings. Although reliable reconstructions do not yet extend far into the past, there is some hope for future progress.