Ozone Layer Hole Found To Be ‘Big player’ in Climate Change27 April, 2011 at 21:11 | Posted in Environmental issues, Nature, Science, sustainable development | Leave a comment
Tags: environmental issues, Nature, Science, sustainable development
The ozone hole over the Antarctic has been linked with climate change in the entire southern hemisphere of the Earth, from the south pole to the equator, according to a study published in Science on April 22.
The ozone layer absorbs harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, protecting the Earth’s surface below. Since the 1960s, man-made chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from aerosol cans, have damaged the ozone layer and created a hole above the Antarctic, first observed in the 1980s.
By comparing two independent climate models, the researchers found that the ozone hole influences rainfall patterns throughout the southern hemisphere.
“It’s really amazing that the ozone hole, located so high up in the atmosphere over Antarctica, can have an impact all the way to the tropics and affect rainfall there—it’s just like a domino effect,” said lead author Sarah Kang, a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University’s Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, in a press release.
According to the researchers, international agreements about mitigating climate change must consider ozone, as well as carbon.
“The ozone hole is not even mentioned in the summary for policymakers issued with the last IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report,” said co-author Lorenzo Polvani, also at Columbia University, and a senior researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
“We show in this study that it has large and far-reaching impacts. The ozone hole is a big player in the climate system!” Polvani added. “This could be a real game-changer.”