Maybe some good news for the environment?

Well it is nothing stellar, but I was glad to see some positive light shining on the subject…

It looks like the hole in the ozone layer over antartica is getting smaller…


Antarctic ozone hole 2nd smallest in  20 years

Published October 25, 2012


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The ozone hole above the Antarctic has hit its maximum extent for the year.  Due to warm temperatures, the opening in the protective atmospheric layer was  the second smallest it has been for 20 years, scientists said Wednesday (Oct.  24).

Stretching to 8.2 million square miles (21.2 million square kilometers), an  area roughly the size of all of North America, the ozone hole reached its peak on Sept. 22. The  largest one recorded to date spanned 11.5 million square miles (29.9 million  square km) in 2000.

On the Earth’s surface, ozone is a pollutant, but in the stratosphere, it  reflects ultraviolet radiation back into space, protecting us from skin  cancer-causing UV rays.

Scientists say the hole in this protective ozone layer mainly is caused by  chlorine from man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were  created in the early 20th century and used in products like spray cans. CFCs,  which destroy ozone, are believed to linger in the stratosphere for decades.

Air temperature can affect the rate at which these CFCs break apart ozone  molecules. Years with large ozone holes are generally associated with very cold  winters over Antarctica and high polar winds, the scientists say.

Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  said the gouge, which forms in September and October, was smaller this year  because of warmer air temperatures high above the South Pole.

“It happened to be a bit warmer this year high in the atmosphere above  Antarctica, and that meant we didn’t see quite as much ozone depletion as we saw  last year, when it was colder,” said Jim Butler with NOAA’s Earth System  Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

The Antarctic ozone hole was first discovered in the late 1970s. The gash  continued to grow steadily during the 1980s and 90s, though since early 2000 the  growth reportedly leveled off. Scientists, however, have seen large variability in its size from year to year.

Although the production of ozone-depleting chemicals has been regulated for  the past 25 years, scientists say it could be another decade before we start  seeing early signs of Antarctic ozone layer recovery.  NASA atmospheric chemist Paul Newman has estimated that the ozone layer above  Antarctica likely will not return to its early 1980s state until about 2060.

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights  reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or  redistributed.


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