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Publication of the FY 2013 Annual Report on Ozone Layer Monitoring

August 29, 2014

The Ministry of the Environment of Japan has compiled the FY 2013 annual report on ozone layer monitoring, covering the status of (i) ozone layer, (ii) atmospheric concentration of ozone depleting substances (ODS), and (iii) solar ultraviolet radiation, pursuant to the Law Concerning the Protection of the Ozone Layer through the Control of Specified Substances and Other Measures (the "Ozone Layer Protection Law").

(i) The current condition of the ozone layer

- The global total ozone has been largely reduced from the 1980s to the first half of the 1990s. After the end of the 1990s, there has been shown a little increase. However, the status of total ozone remains depleted as compared to 1979 when we started the observation by satellite.

- The ozone hole formed over Antarctica every spring expanded from the 1980s to the first half the 1990s, and remained stable with year-to-year variences since then. The Antarctic ozone layer has still been in a critical condition.

- In the 1980s, the total column ozone amounts in Sapporo and Tsukuba showed a decreasing trend. After the latter half of the 1990s, the total column ozone amounts in Sapporo, Tsukuba, Naha and Minamitorishima have showed an increasing trend.

- It is expected that the total column ozone will not recover to 1960 levels until around 2030 in the high and middle latitude of the Northern hemisphere, not until around 2055 in the middle latitude of Southern hemisphere, and not until the end of this century in the Antarctic.

(ii) Concentration of ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere

- In the middle latitude areas of the Northern hemisphere, atmospheric concentration of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have decreased very slowly, as observed in Hokkaido. On the other hand, concentrations of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) have been rapidly increasing. The concentration of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which does not deplete the ozone layer but has high greenhouse effects, has been rapidly increasing.

- In Kawasaki City, as for the atmospheric concentration of CFCs, Carbon tetrachloride and 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, fluctuation range gradually becomes smaller and decreases to similar level of that of Hokkaido. It means that production and consumption of ODS has been successfully controlled in Japan. HCFCs and HFCs are detected by high density frequently, since they are still used in our daily life and released in the atmosphere by the existing equipment.

-The production and the consumption of the CFCs were abolished totally based on the Montreal Protocol by the end of 1995 in the developed countries and by the end of 2009 in the developing countries. CFCs stay in the atmosphere for a long time, therefore, it is predicted that, from now on, its concentration will be reduced very slowly due to the complete abandonment of its production. As for HCFCs, it is predicted that its concentration in the atmosphere will increase and reach a peak level within 20 to 30 years.

The Ministry of the Environment of Japan has compiled an annual report on ozone layer monitoring, covering the status of ozone layer and atmospheric concentration of ODS, and ensured the compliance with the Montreal Protocol by phasing out ODS according to the Montreal Protocol schedule. Japan has recently decided to revise the act for fluorocarbons control to fight the rapid increase of HFCs emissions. After the amendment, the act will cover the whole life cycle from production to destruction/ recycle of fluorocarbons.

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