Most probably you’ve heard of it. Everyone talked about the ozone layer a few years ago. The famous ozone holes were a concern that has been happily defused thanks to technical progress. Beware, however, because the latest studies suggest that the situation may have worsened. Let’s not get side-tracked!
The ozone layer envelops the Earth at an altitude of 20 to 50 km and absorbs ultraviolet rays from the Sun, which are harmful to our skin. However, this kind of gassy superheroine is easily damaged: the overuse of certain artificial chemicals causes holes in the layer that allow radiation in. It is essential for us to monitor whether these holes get bigger or smaller and to find out the causes of these changes.
In Europe, the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) has been operating since 1996. More recently, GOME-2 was launched. GOME-2 includes space instrumental to make all kinds of measurements about the conditions of the ozone layer. This is another superhero that, just like Batman, monitors any external threats and does not rest at night or on holidays. GOME-2 is supported by several satellites (currently, MetOp-C) and surveys the aggressions against the ozone layer. And it won’t miss a single particle! So beware of overusing aerosols and other ozone-depleting substances. GOME-2 will see it!