Susan Solomon's research pinpointed how CFCs caused the Antarctic ozone hole--and later showed that the Montreal Protocol is helping to mend it. She's convinced that we can make progress on addressing climate change, too.
For MIT Technology Review, Amanda Schaffer profiles Susan Solomon, EAPS Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies.
One night in 1986, Susan Solomon, a young researcher with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), stood in subzero temperatures on the roof of McMurdo Station, the US research center in Antarctica. Solomon was adjusting the mirrors mounted there to capture moonlight and direct it to a visible absorption spectrograph in the lab below. Her goal was to measure the concentrations of different compounds in the atmosphere above Antarctica, in order to make sense of the large hole in the ozone layer that had developed there.
Story Image: In 1986, Susan Solomon traveled to Antarctica with other researchers to collect data that backed up her hypothesis of how ozone destruction occurred and why it was so pronounced above the continent. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)