2020 update assessment of ozone depletion, UV radiation and climate change

The UNEP EEAP 2020 Update has just been published in Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences. This year the assessment includes a sectionsupplement on the implications of these environmental effects for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meltwater accumulating on Eagle Island, Antarctica

We also make seven points related to Terrestrial Ecosystems:

  1. Changes in UV radiation and climate have the potential to alter habitat suitability for plant species in terrestrial ecosystems.
  2. Species native to Antarctic are adapted to live under the extreme conditions, but continued changes in UV radiation and climate in this environment could exceed the limits of tolerances and survival of many native species of animal and plants.
  3. Stratospheric ozone depletion affects the Antarctic climate with direct consequences for the environment of terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems.
  4. Plant responses to UV radiation are contingent on other changing environmental conditions, and these effects collectively influence crop quality and production
  5. Acclimation of plants to changes in UV radiation may depend on the adaptation of species to grow in more open or shaded environments and could lead to shifts in functional diversity as vegetative cover changes with climate change and land use.
  6. The sensitivity of pollen to UV radiation and its preservation in the fossil record make it attractive for use in reconstructing UV radiation from the geological past.
  7. Technological advances are allowing for the use of UV radiation to improve agricultural sustainability.

To find out more the open-access publication: Neale, et al. (2021) Environmental effects of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation, and interactions with climate: UNEP Environmental Effects Assessment Panel, Update 2020. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, https://doi.org/10.1007/s43630-020-00001-x

UNEP EEAP 2019 Update published

The 2019 Update on the 2018 Quadrennial Assessment by the UNEP Environmental Effects Panel assessing how climate change, ozone and UV-B radiation interact is now published in Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences.

Bernhard et al., (2020), Environmental effects of stratospheric ozone depletion, UV radiation and interactions with climate change: UNEP Environmental Effects Assessment Panel, update 2019. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences DOI: 10.1039/d0pp90011g

The Panel met in Alexandria on the South Island of New Zealand in September-October 2019 to consider the latest research into these effects on climate, human health, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem, materials, pollution, and biogeochemical cycling; as well as cross-cutting factors affecting all of these global concerns.

This year 2020, we will reconvene in September to consider what has been a very unusual year for ozone depletion and climate interactions in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Sunset over Shoal Bay, New South Wales, Australia (Photo: Scott Byrne).