Mesospheric Mysteries

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Science  26 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5334, pp. 1951-1952
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5334.1951

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The chemical processes that govern the concentration of ozone in the upper stratosphere, particularly as they are affected by human activity, are of considerable interest in view of ozone's importance in shielding Earth from harmful solar ultraviolet radiation. In his Perspective, Crutzen discusses results reported in the same issue by Summers et al. in which they find that chemical balance can be achieved if changes are made to some important reaction rates. As a consequence, major revisions will be required in the current understanding of upper atmospheric chemistry.