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Atmospheric Laser

January 9, 2007

A new technique will help scientists keep tabs on the recovering ozone.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Checking up on ozone. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Thanks to a massive international effort, the atmosphere’s damaged ozone layer is just starting to heal. Now, scientists have a better way to check up on it. Physicist Eric Mueller of Coherent, Inc., in California has helped develop a laser-enhanced satellite system for measuring an atmospheric chemical called OH. Mueller explains that OH is not only a key marker of the ozone layer’s health — it’s also useful for validating scientific models of the whole atmosphere.

ERIC MUELLER (Coherent, Inc.):
It turns out that how good the model is at predicting OH tells you a lot about how good the model is at predicting all kinds of other things.

HIRSHON:
And having reliable models will be critical in deciding how to respond to complex phenomena like global warming.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.