One of the three British scientists who originally discovered the ozone hole over the Antarctic has announced that similar damage will soon take place in the Arctic. The reason for this is not that ozone-depleting gasses are still increasing in the atmosphere. They are actually declining, due to worldwide efforts to limit emissions.
The problem is that greenhouse gasses are causing more heat to be trapped close to the earth, with the result that the upper atmosphere is cooling rapidly. The cooling of the ozone layer has the effect of slowing its recovery and intensifying the effect of ozone-depleting gasses that are still present.
Cooling of the ozone layer, especially in winter, causes clouds to form in it that activates chlorine, which is a potent destroyer of ozone.
As recently as October 18, the ozone layer over northern Russia dropped below 200 dobson units, an alarming decline. If an ozone hole opens up over the Arctic, there will be millions of people, animals and crops exposed to high ultra-violet radiation across the whole northern half of the northern hemisphere, with unknown consequences.
There have been many jokes made by politicians about the declining ozone layer. It has been suggested that we “wear dark glasses.” However, cattle cannot wear dark glasses or survive for long blind, and plants burned by ultraviolet radiation cannot survive.
With the melting arctic and the collapsing ozone layer, we are in the middle of an extremely serious environmental crisis that must not be ignored. The “wait and see” attitude being promoted by some current political candidates is a prescription for the most terrible of all environmental consequences: biospheric megadeath.
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