At the ongoing "Living With a Star" workshop in Boulder, Colo., evidence that certain types of proton emissions from the Sun can do lasting damage to the ozone layer. According to today's SpaceWeather.com:
Scientists attending the Living With a Star workshop in Boulder, Colorado, learned yesterday that solar storms can have long-lasting effects on Earth's ozone layer. Charles Jackman of the Goddard Space Flight Center reported that solar protons hitting Earth in July 2000 altered the chemistry of the upper atmosphere, resulting in "huge enhancements (>100%) in middle stratospheric NOx."The LINK is to the details of a paper presented by a group that studied the results of proton emissions in 2000, and the after effects on the atmosphere a year later. It's kind of technical, but you should be able to get the gist of it.To paraphrase: The Sun, can't live without it, can't live with it.
NOx (pronounced "knocks") are nitrogen oxides such as NO or NO2. The presence of NOx can either boost or destroy ozone, depending on altitude, temperature and other variables. Jackman and colleagues analyzed what happened in July 2000 when powerful solar storms produced a surge of NOx. In the Southern Hemisphere, they found, ozone was both boosted (yellow in the diagram above) and destroyed (blue). Researchers have long known that solar storms affect ozone. The surprise here is timescale: Ozone abundances were affected for nearly a year after the July 2000 storms. The ozone layer eventually returned to normal, but not until many months after solar actvitiy subsided.