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November 10, 2008

Great big ozone hole this year - not as bad news as it sounds

Posted: 09:29 AM ET

The ozone hole over the Antarctic, which grows to its maximum annual size in September, peaked at the fifth-highest size ever since measurements began in 1979 this year, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.noaa-ozone

But experts say that the "fifth-largest" designation may not necessarily be bad news at all.  They're sticking to predictions that the ozone hole will repair itself over the rest of the 21st Century.  Colder-than-average temperatures and strong high level winds helped widen the hole this season.  Warmer weather as the Antarctic summer starts up helps close up the hole each year.

It's been nearly four decades since the first research drew links between man-made chemicals and destruction of ozone in the upper atmosphere.  Chlorofluorocarbons and freon - once widely used in air conditioners and spray cans respectively, were among the substances that broke down stratospheric ozone - the key to protecting us from harmful solar radiation.  Projections indicate that a thinning ozone layer could lead to increases in human skin cancer, eye cataracts, and other maladies.  Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen and Americans Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their discoveries.

Global concern over ozone damage led to what is widely regarded as a remarkably successful international treaty.  The Montreal Protocol was ratified in 1987 and took full effect nine years later, banning most uses of ozone-destroying chemicals.

Scientists have reported a substantial reduction in the levels of ozone-destroying chemicals reaching the stratosphere.  But CFC's, freon, bromides, and other ozone-eaters are particularly long-lasting, and may take much of the rest of this century to dissipate.  "The decline of these harmful substances to their pre-ozone hole levels ... will take decades," said NOAA chemist Stephen Montzka.

Translation:   Don't lose the sunscreen.   Ozone layers have thinned planet-wide, and during the late-winter weather in either hemisphere, ozone protection reaches its lowest levels near the poles.  Less ozone in the upper atmosphere means more exposure to the ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer.

NOAA's Ozone measurements page can be found here

NASA offers daily updated graphics and animations on the size of the ozone hole here.

Peter Dykstra   Executive Producer   CNN Science, Tech & Weather

Filed under: environment • meteorology • NASA • science • Weather


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JAy.   November 10th, 2008 10:39 am ET

"Chlorofluorocarbons and freon — once widely used in air conditioners and spray cans respectively, were among the substances that broke down stratospheric ozone — the key to protecting us from harmful solar radiation."

Who wrote this sentence?? And who tried to put CFC's in my air conditioner and freon in my spray can?

Can I try my hand at a re-write?

"Chlorofluorocarbons and freon — once widely used in spray cans and air conditioners respectively — were among the substances that broke down stratospheric ozone, the key to protecting us from harmful solar radiation."

JAy.


Francis Flute   November 10th, 2008 11:18 am ET

"...ozone has thinned planet wide..." is nice journalistic rhetoric to focus fear and alarm but does not conform to any facts in the article or in other evidence.


William   November 10th, 2008 11:35 am ET

Global warming is the savior that will close the hole in the ozone for good.


JDHowes   November 10th, 2008 1:52 pm ET

Everything that lives generates either a gas and/or heat. Imagine a world with no hole in the ozone layer... strategically located (always) at the South Pole where it does the least harm.

Imagine eating a burrito, sitting in a steam room where someone has superglued you backend, mouth & nose shut... as the gas and heat builds... it's a good thing we superglued it all shut, isn't it?

What if, in our very limited scientific ignorance, we succeed at closing up the South Pole ozone hole?

What if this is just a natural means of balancing Earth's surface temperature and allowing excess heat to bleed off easily through the South Pole... or allowing various gases to pass?

Oh, I forgot... scientist know everything!!! Even if they keep changing their minds, theories and facts every 12-24 months. Right now, I am preparing for heavier than usual snows this winter because of the dangers of so-called "Global Warming."


Metacarpal   November 10th, 2008 2:38 pm ET

@JAy:

Thank you for saving me the trouble of typing that.


Jeff   November 10th, 2008 3:32 pm ET

To expand on JAy's point... Does anyone actually use proofreaders and editors anymore? Or even just a "Hey, Bob, come take a look at this before I send it."

I mean, come on! "Projections that a thinning ozone layer could lead to increases in human skin cancer, eye cataracts, and other maladies." How is that even a complete sentence?

This is a trend that I have noticed first in online publications and news sites, which has since spread, widely I might add, to newspapers, magazines, and even published books. Does the publishing community no longer have any pride in what it puts out for public consumption?


Me   November 10th, 2008 3:41 pm ET

This is good news! When the ozone hole gets large enough, UV-Induced melanomas will reduce the world's population by 50%, thereby deeply reducing the carbon load on the atmosphere, solving the global warming issues. Maybe some type of solar shade is in order, like a nice gazebo towed behind the ISS....


Milton   November 10th, 2008 6:43 pm ET

The write gradumenated from Facebook U.


David Benet   November 10th, 2008 7:21 pm ET

I was on holiday in Bali earlier this year. The hotel maintenance men were working on an air conditioner in one of the rooms next to ours. Guess what they were charging the system with? Freon.

The assumptions that this compound has been dropped from use is obviously flawed.


Wayne Pigeon, Sterling Heights, MI   November 10th, 2008 8:56 pm ET

Mother Nature always seems to know what to do, irregardless of Man's perceptions, or of whatever Man seems to be doing to the planet.
We ain't near as big, or as important, or as effective, as some seem to believe ...


Here’re a Few Quick News Items 1.013 « Troythulu’s Rants | musings of a skeptophrenic   November 10th, 2008 9:18 pm ET

[...] And finally, Great Big Ozone Hole At South Pole This Year, Not as Bad as It Sounds [...]


Franko   November 11th, 2008 12:43 am ET

"The Antarctic polar vortex is a natural, continent-wide 'tornado' of 200 kph, super-cold winds surrounding the ozone 'hole' from the stratosphere to the surface"

One giant ice cream mixer. A chemical reactor.
If we could just stop the category 3 Antarctic Anticyclone,
We would have more O3 molecules
http://mls.jpl.nasa.gov/joe/h2o_o3_peeling_from_vortex.html#top


Bob Cohen, Wilmington, DE   November 11th, 2008 7:34 am ET

"chlorofluorocarbons and Freon" – The fact is that 'Freon" was simply Du Pont's trade name for a family of chlorofluorocarbons, used as refrigerants, solvents and aerosol propellants. Other companies in the US and around the world manufactured the same products.


martin   November 11th, 2008 10:24 am ET

I am glad to see that they are still granting diplomas straight out of the Trix box for all you armchair chemists. CFCS= chlorine ions broken by the ultraviolet radiation in the upper atmosphere. The chlorine in turn breaks the ozone down. We are screwed and bbq'd. Do some reading before typing idiots


Bob   November 11th, 2008 11:18 am ET

Chlorofluorocarbons and Freon are the same thing. Freon was a brand name, like Kleenex.


Franko   November 11th, 2008 12:00 pm ET

Pollution and sunlight produce O3
Water is sterilized by Ultraviolet produced O3
Even your air freshning ionizer, produces O3
The EnviroCommies want to extrapolate the effect; O3 cull Humans


Franko   November 11th, 2008 12:01 pm ET

Pollution and sunlight produce O3
Water is sterilized by Ultraviolet produced O3
Even your air freshning ionizer, produces O3
The EnviroCommies want to extrapolate the effect; O3 cull Humans


Tony   November 11th, 2008 2:12 pm ET

JD –
You should know the scientific definition of what a "theory" is and what a scientific "fact" is. You should also ignore talking points in the media. GRAVITY is just a scientific theory – yet I bet you subscribe to it.

And if you read this article, you'd realize that they aren't advocating anything – either closing or making the whole bigger.

They just states "facts" as in... the whole is 5th biggest measurement since 1979. That's a FACT.

They state another fact: CFCs and chemicals such as freon harm the ozone layer. Is that bad? Is that good? Nobody knows. They then HYPOTHESIZE that it's bad – causes skin cancer.

Please go back to school and learn some science. Also learn to read critically.


Jack P   November 11th, 2008 2:32 pm ET

The hole in the ozone layer size increase is a figment of DuPont's imagination... it created alot of revenue for those that had to convert all their air conditioning over to R-134. The only thing that contributes to the hole in the ozone is Al Gore's hot air!


Marie Zarankevich   November 11th, 2008 3:44 pm ET

If, as Martin suggests, all the chlorine we use to treat all the water that goes to all the homes, pools, and industry in large cities everywhere drifts upward, and destroys ozone, then perhaps we are "tattooed", as it were. We have successfully negotiated Amoebic Dysentery for the death of the planet by using this poison to make our drinking water SAFE???. Good deal, that one! Maybe one day we'll follow that act with the one where we save the life of a single human fetus at the cost of every other living thing on Earth. I suppose we'll view that as a pretty good deal, as well. Hint: If you don't like being treated like a lab rat, stop treating all the critters living here like lab rats. They own the world too, you know, and they are NOT unaware. We have no right to damage this place.


Franko   November 12th, 2008 9:18 am ET

" GRAVITY is just a scientific theory – yet I bet you subscribe to it."
Newton's law of universal gravitation – Wikipedia
Disobey the Law and the Apple gets bonked by Newton;s head

"the chlorine we use to treat all the water"
CL2 + H2O = HCL + HCLO - Hydrochloric acid and Bleach
Ultraviolet lamp produced O3, is another bleach for water treatment

"If you don’t like being treated like a lab rat, stop treating all the
critters living here like lab rats. They own the world too,"
No way ! God gave it to US - It would be spittng in Gods's face to
share. Same way, US is God selected, on top of the Energy Chain.

Ozone hole is a high altitude Antartic weather effect
Moist air and other chemicals mix - even snowflakes destroy O3


heinz knoedler   November 14th, 2008 1:30 pm ET

Some time ago I had opportunity to sit down with a famous physicist from WWII – a colleague of Wernher von Braun – and we discussed this ozone hole problem. He explained that the ozone fluctuations have been going on since time began. When ozone is plentiful, the holes close and ozone becomes depleted. The holes open and allow in more of the sun's ultraviolet rays which react with the oxygen in the atmosphere to create....MORE OZONE, which then closes the holes, and the process begins again. You can spout all the formulae you wish, but it won't change a thing.: the ozone layer will continue to fluctuate long after mankind disappears from the face of the earth.


Unknown   November 18th, 2008 3:46 am ET

Quoted by heniz knoedler:
"Some time ago I had opportunity to sit down with a famous physicist from WWII – a colleague of Wernher von Braun – and we discussed this ozone hole problem. He explained that the ozone fluctuations have been going on since time began. When ozone is plentiful, the holes close and ozone becomes depleted. The holes open and allow in more of the sun’s ultraviolet rays which react with the oxygen in the atmosphere to create….MORE OZONE, which then closes the holes, and the process begins again. You can spout all the formulae you wish, but it won’t change a thing.: the ozone layer will continue to fluctuate long after mankind disappears from the face of the earth."

^^This.


marcus   November 19th, 2008 1:59 pm ET

a planet which creates and destroys....how ironic


taylor   November 19th, 2008 8:06 pm ET

Why does this post not mention the United States' refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol?


Franko   November 20th, 2008 2:17 pm ET

marcus
"a planet which creates and destroys….how ironic"

Not at all. Overall entropy increases
However, locally, intelligent entities, decrease entropy
Potential to do work, hydro dammed water, gasoline in your car

--–

taylor; "Why does this post not mention the United States’ refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol?"

Plans to blow the brains out of the world economy by debth
We already have that fraud.
Kyoto fraud, another corruption - look at CO2 temperature charts.
Justify CO2 taxes ? - bunch of nutbars


David Baxley   November 22nd, 2008 6:36 pm ET

I was watching CNN's Green Warriors today at about 6:15 or 6:20pm and they were talking about a new type of solar panel that was lightweight or didn't need to be weighed down because of it's design. I have tried finding an article to back up what I saw because I didn't see the beginning of the story and I can't seem to find it anywhere. Does anyone know what this was about? Or if this show will be on again? I would really like to know about this new type of solar so I can share it with some people who would find it interesting. Thank you.

"Solyndra" is the name of the California-based company in the story. Thanks for watching


Zoneaire   April 21st, 2009 12:35 pm ET

nice post


Evie Roberts   June 20th, 2010 5:22 am ET

Sunblocks can also reduce the incidence of skin cancer by preventing UV to harm your skin.',:


Phoebe Clarke   August 11th, 2010 4:31 am ET

Air Conditioners are really necessary if you have allergic rhinitis and some other respiratory conditions .


Ryan Green   September 30th, 2010 10:17 am ET

air conditioner is always a necessity at home"*.


Concrete Molds    October 13th, 2010 7:09 pm ET

skin cancer is preventable, just use sunblock and also take lots of anti-oxidants~-"


Door Curtains    October 17th, 2010 3:37 pm ET

air conditioners are really needed specially if you have people with respiratory problems`*`


Rust Paint :   October 25th, 2010 5:01 am ET

skin cancer is usually caused by UV exposure, therefore, it really makes sense to always use those UV block creams when going o"*.


Floor Lamp   December 22nd, 2010 3:16 pm ET

well, skin cancer incidence would be increasing because of the hole on the ozone layer :';


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