The " Ozone Layer and the Upper Atmosphere research" laboratory was organized to solve scientific and educational problems associated with the medium-term (up to 1 month) and long-term (up to 200 years) forecast of the ozone layer development caused by natural and anthropogenic factors, climate change and space weather events.

Main tasks:

  • Carrying out and analysis of ground and satellite measurements of ozone, ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and the atmospheric state.
  • Assessment of the past and projection of the future tozone layer behavior using state-of-the-art chemistry- climate models that take into account a variety of forcing, including the variability of greenhouse gases and ODS.
  • Development of a new atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere model and its application to study the influence of space weather on the ozone layer variability.
  • Analysis of medium-term ozone layer variability due to disturbances in atmospheric dynamics and space weather.

The history of the laboratory

It is well known that the ozone layer protects the biosphere and humans from the solar ultraviolet radiation, and therefore its control is extremely important. The evolution of the ozone layer prior to the industrial era was largely controlled by natural factors. Since the 1970s, anthropogenic activities associated with the greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substances emissions have led to a catastrophic depletion of the ozone at high latitudes in the southern hemisphere and globally. In the late 1980s, the Montreal Protocol was adopted, limiting the production of ozone-depleting gases.

This international treaty and its amendments helped to neutralize negative trends. However, the measurement results show that, despite the measures taken to limit the anthropogenic impact on the ozone content, its recovery is slower than expected, and in some regions, it continues to decline significantly. The situation is aggravated by the appearance of an extensive ozone hole over the Arctic in 2020, mini ozone holes over the territory of Russia and violations of the limitation of ozone-depleting substances emissions.

The extrapolation of the identified negative trends into the future causes concern for the society and politicians, in connection with which there is a need to create a special research laboratory. Such a laboratory should use an integrated approach to the study and forecasting of atmospheric processes, including both monitoring the state of the ozone layer and other important atmospheric gases, and mathematical modeling of many processes, including chemistry, dynamics and atmospheric transport. In order to implement these ambitious plans, it is necessary to create a model that can adequately respond to changes in anthropogenic, solar, volcanic and geomagnetic activity.

As a result, this should provide the emergence of new data on diagnostics and forecasting of the state of the ozone layer, significantly exceeding the world level, as well as methods for solving these problems, which are of a global nature. Until now, there were no institutions in Russia capable of carrying out these studies at a high level, which was the reason for the creation of a new laboratory.

The idea of ​​creating a laboratory appeared in 2019 after a discussion of the problems of the evolution of the ozone layer by specialists from the Departments of Atmospheric Physics and Earth Physics of St. Petersburg State University with E. Rozanov (head of the climate group at the Physical and Meteorological Observatory of Davos) An application for the Russian government's mega-grants program was supported in 2020, and the laboratory began work on July 1, 2021.

How the laboratory is organized

The laboratory is located in the educational and scientific complex of St. Petersburg State University in Peterhof. The work is organized in five sections, investigating the impact on the ozone layer of anthropogenic and natural factors of influence acting from the lower and upper atmosphere.

The main areas of activity arising from the above goals and objectives:

  • Conducting regular observations of ozone and ozone-depleting atmospheric gases.
  • Processing of data from Russian and foreign satellite instruments.
  • Validation and improvement of existing climate and upper atmosphere models.
  • Prediction of the future behavior of the ozone layer for a large set of possible scenarios for changes in anthropogenic, solar, volcanic, and geomagnetic activity.
  • Development of a fundamentally new model atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere and its application to study the influence of space weather on the variability of the ozone layer.
  • Analysis of the medium-term variability of the ozone layer due to the variability of dynamic and wave processes in the atmosphere, as well as space weather.

Scientific activities of the laboratory

The state of the ozone layer will be investigated considering many physical processes in all atmospheric layers from the surface to the magnetosphere, including the entire complex of heliophysical, geomagnetic and meteorological disturbances. Accounting all nonlinear interactions between physical and chemical processes in different atmospheric layers which affect the stratospheric ozone under the influence of natural and anthropogenic factors requires sophisticated numerical modeling of photochemical and climatic processes in the atmosphere at all altitudes. considering their interactions and feedbacks.

The proposed approach can only be implemented using observations of the ozone layer and its regulating factors. Therefore, the project contains an intensive program of measurements of the atmospheric state, the atmospheric ozone and associated gases concentrations using ground-based and satellite instruments. A comprehensive study of processes in the entire atmosphere also requires interdisciplinary research involving a wide range of specialists in the fields of earth and near space sciences.

The list of current projects contains:

  • Monitoring of the total content according to the data of the infrared device (IKFS-2) on the Russian satellite (Meteor-M)
  • Measurements of ozone and ozone-depleting gases from ground-based spectroscopic measurements with a Bruker 125HR instrument.
  • Validation of Earth System, Climate and Ozone Models.
  • Comparison of various data on the rates of ionization by energetic particles.
  • Theoretical foundations for creating a new model atmosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere.
  • Simulation of the solar proton events influence on the ozone layer for different configurations of the magnetic field.

Available equipment

The “Geomodel” resource center of St. Petersburg State University has unique equipment for measuring the gas and aerosol composition of the atmosphere, conducting various laboratory studies. To create new atmospheric models and use them for forecasting the state of the ozonosphere in the coming decades, a computing cluster (300-400 cores) was purchased.

Two personal computers with powerful video cards for solving inverse problems using neural networks and calculating the propagation of gravitational waves are available as well as several personal computers for processing and visualizing results, preparing articles and presentations.