Evidence for the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer
The release of man-made ozone depleting substances (ODS, including chlorofluorocarbons and halons) into the atmosphere has led to a near-linear increase in stratospheric halogen loading since the early 1970s, which levelled off after the mid-1990s and then started to decline, in response to the ban of many ODS by the Montreal Protocol (1987). We developed a multiple linear regression model to test whether this already had a measurable effect on total ozone values observed by the global network of ground-based instruments. The model includes explanatory variables describing the influence of various modes of dynamical variability and of volcanic eruptions. In order to describe the anthropogenic influence a first version of the model contains a linear trend (LT) term, whereas a second version contains a term describing the evolution of Equivalent Effective Stratospheric Chlorine (EESC). By comparing the explained variance of these two model versions we evaluated, which of the two terms better describes the observed ozone evolution. For a significant majority of the stations, the EESC proxy fits the long term ozone evolution better than the linear trend term. Therefore, we conclude that the Montreal Protocol has started to show measurable effects on the ozone layer about twenty years after it became legally binding.