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Researchers to receive EPA award for efforts to protect ozone layer

James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073; kloeppel@illinois.edu

5/2/2005

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Donald Wuebbles, a professor and head of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his fellow members of the Ozone Science Tiger Team will receive the 2005 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. The award will be presented Wednesday (May 4) at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Tiger Team is a group of statisticians and atmospheric scientists, which has, since 1982, studied the role of human impact on global tropospheric and stratospheric ozone. By combining the science of ozone chemistry and physics with sophisticated statistical techniques, the team provided a powerful new approach for studying the trend in atmospheric ozone levels.

The team’s work resulted in “a major influence on the policy development to protect stratospheric ozone,” wrote Bella A. Maranion, an EPA program analyst who nominated the team for the award.

“Through their combination of statistical and scientific analysis, the Tiger Team was the first to actually prove that a decrease in stratospheric ozone was occurring in the early 1980s,” Maranion wrote. “The Tiger Team proof of ozone decrease in the upper stratosphere, in concert with the discovery and attribution of the Antarctic ozone hole, was a principal component leading up to the ratification of the Montreal Protocol.”

First signed in 1987, the Montreal Protocol is a landmark international agreement designed to protect the stratospheric ozone level by eliminating the production and use of ozone-reducing chlorofluorocarbons.

“The Tiger Team analysis approach, combining statistical time series analysis with scientific understanding of ozone processes, has become the standard used around the world in analyzing ozone observations for trends,” Maranion wrote. “They have refined and extended this approach over the last two decades, applying it to both ground-based and satellite datasets, leading to ever-enhanced understanding of the role being played by human activities in affecting ozone.”

The Tiger Team continues to make major contributions to understanding ozone trends and corresponding policy implications. The current team includes statisticians Serge Guillas of the Georgia Institute of Technology and George Tiao of the University of Chicago, and atmospheric scientists Alvin J. Miller of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Betsy Weatherhead of the University of Colorado, and Wuebbles. One of the original members, Gregory Reinsel of the University of Wisconsin, died in May 2004.

The EPA established its Ozone Protection Awards in 1990 to recognize exceptional leadership, personal dedication and technical achievements in eliminating ozone-depleting substances.

Editor’s note: To reach Donald Wuebbles, call 217- 244-1568; e-mail: wuebbles@illinois.edu.