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Atmospheric Laser

January 9, 2007

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


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.

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.