Skip to comments.Mysteries of ozone depletion continue 25 years after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole
Posted on 08/30/2011 6:46:17 AM PDT by Red Badger
Even after many decades of studying ozone and its loss from our atmosphere miles above the Earth, plenty of mysteries and surprises remain, including an unexpected loss of ozone over the Arctic this past winter, an authority on the topic said here today. She also discussed chemistry and climate change, including some proposed ideas to "geoengineer" the Earth's climate to slow down or reverse global warming. The talk happened at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), being held this week.
In a Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture, Susan Solomon, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado, Boulder, said that the combined efforts of scientists, the public, industry and policy makers to stop ozone depletion is one of science's greatest success stories, but unanswered questions remain. And ozone is still disappearing.
"We're no longer producing the primary chemicals chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that caused the problem, but CFCs have very long lifetimes in our atmosphere, and so we'll have ozone depletion for several more decades," said Solomon. "There are still some remarkable mysteries regarding exactly how these chlorine compounds behave in Antarctica and it's amazing that we still have much to learn, even after studying ozone for so long."
The ozone layer is crucial to life on Earth, forming a protective shield high in the atmosphere that blocks potentially harmful ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Scientists have known since 1930 that ozone forms and decomposes through chemical processes. The first hints that human activity threatened the ozone layer emerged in the 1970s, and included one warning from Paul Crutzen, Ph.D., that agricultural fertilizers might reduce ozone levels. Another hint was from F. Sherwood Rowland, Ph.D., and Mario Molina, Ph.D., who described how CFCs in aerosol spray cans and other products could destroy the ozone layer. The three shared a 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for that research. In 1985, British scientists discovered a "hole," a completely unexpected area of intense ozone depletion over Antarctica. Solomon's 1986 expedition to Antarctica provided some of the clinching evidence that underpinned a global ban on CFCs and certain other ozone-depleting gases.
Evidence suggests that the ozone depletion has stopped getting worse. "Ozone can be thought of as a patient in remission, but it's too early to declare recovery," said Solomon. And surprises, such as last winter's loss of 40% of the ozone over the Arctic still occur due to the extremely long lifetimes of ozone-destroying substances released years ago before the ban.
Solomon also took listeners on a tour of gases and aerosols that affect climate change and described how these substances can contribute to global warming.
"On the thousand-year timescale, carbon dioxide is by far the most important greenhouse gas produced by humans, but there are some other interesting though much less abundant gases such as perfluorinated compounds that also last thousands of years and similarly affect our climate for millennia," said Solomon.
Increases in atmospheric "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide trap heat in the atmosphere, causing the Earth's temperature to creep upward. Global warming is causing ocean levels to rise and could lead some regions to become dry "dust bowls."
Dealing with global warming has prompted a lot of interesting research on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, how to adapt to a changing climate and on the possibility of 'geoengineering' to cool the climate.
"Recent studies on 'geoengineering' the Earth's climate involve stratospheric particles of different sorts," she said. "Most of these schemes involve sulfate particles, but other types have been proposed."
The talk took place on Monday, August 29, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Mountain time in the Wells Fargo Theater at the Colorado Convention Center.
Sponsored by The Kavli Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports basic scientific research, the lectures are designed to address the urgent need for vigorous, "outside the box" thinking by scientists as they tackle the world's mounting challenges, including climate change, emerging diseases, and water and energy shortages.
"We are dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work," said Kavli Foundation President Robert W. Conn in a statement. "The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture program at the ACS national meetings fits perfectly with our commitment to support groundbreaking discovery and promote public understanding."
The Kavli lectures debuted at the Anaheim meeting in March during this International Year of Chemistry and will continue through 2013. They will address the urgent need for vigorous, new, "outside-the-box"- thinking, as scientists tackle many of the world's mounting challenges like climate change, emerging diseases, and water and energy shortages. The Kavli Foundation, an internationally recognized philanthropic organization known for its support of basic scientific innovation, agreed to sponsor the lectures in conjunction with ACS in 2010.
I don’t care if there is a hole or if there isn’t a hole.
There isn’t one damn thing the US government is gonna do about it aside from tax and spend, so who cares?
If it’s there, great!
If it’s not there, great!
All the mammals on earth exhale CO2 when they breathe. What’s to be done about that, apply for another grant, create more horsesh-t? Some how I think it’l be the horsesh-t by a landslide.
Where does ozone come from?
It is made when radiation strikes water and releases the ozone molecule into the atmosphere.
So....in the short periods when there is a “hole”, more radiation comes through the atmosphere AND CREATES MORE OZONE!!!!
It’s a self healing process and cycle.
Man is incapable of spoiling it.
Just another enviro-hoax.
That the cfc's have any affect is pure speculation, because somewhere, someone bubbled some through a cloud of ozone in a test tube, and the ozone (gasp) chemically reacted, unstable as it is.
Ozone will react with aluminum siding. Perhaps aluminum should be banned, well, maybe just in california? LOL
I doubt there are many things that ozone will not react with.
“my theory is that the ozone hole is actually like a chimney, opening up to allow toxins??? to be released from the atmosphere”
The “ozone hole” is not an actual hole in the atmosphere that would allow gases escape. There is no “bubble” holding gas in the atmosphere, it is all held in by the planet’s gravity. The “ozone hole” would supposedly have let more UV radiation in to the atmosphere, by creating an area where it would not be reflected back into space as much as in the rest of the atmosphere.
grant money grant money grant money
Unfortunately for us, Susan Soloman is a bit of a biased "scientist" who does not listen to anyone with a contrary question. There may be a correlation between global cooling and the size of the ozone hole. Okay, not necessarily global cooling, but unusually cold winter temperatures in the upper atmosphere.
Furthermore, the predicted sizes of the ozone hole may not correlate with the reduction of CFCs in the upper atmosphere. Upper atmospheric chemistry is complex with many assumptions and limited data, with its attendant limited methodology and results.
Al Bore thinks you are a racist.
CFCs are to heavy to reach the stratosphere, ask some one with an “Earth science degree” about CFCs or FREON 12 rising instead of falling and they will burst into laughter.
Here is a hint. Both are much heaver than O2 or nitrogen or CO2, and as a result they fall to the ground.
And IMO DuPont transferred large sums of cash to EPA scientists and select congressmen.
In hindsight the whole thing sounds preposterous. It's a pretty imaginative scam but it didn't involve massive sums of money and regulation like AGW does. The scientists weren't yet quite the power-tripping socialists they are today.
“Bunch of Idiots,we had to change to a more expensive but less efficient gas,because of some slobbering enviro Pinheads who got it wrong,Plus a worthless Government that is filled with the same.
And IMO DuPont transferred large sums of cash to EPA scientists and select congressmen.”
Like DDT we got rid of a cheap very effective insecticide,in exchange for expensive ones that hurt us as well.
“we are held down to the planet by particle bombardment, the subatomic particles being attracted from space by our magnetic field”
So, if you stand under a lead plate you suddenly become weightless? Please...
since this has not been researched ( due to people believing in fairy tales out of the 16th century ) it is not fully explainable....but we have to assume these subatomic particles can and do penetrate everything......after all, they get through the ozone layer....
It is a self-regulating system that produces more ozone in response to higher energy from the Sun over the poles. It is for PROTECTION. Too MUCH energy from the SUN would kill everything, not ENOUGH would kill everything. Especially in an area where the SUN is visible for months in a row.
If the “subatomic particles” penetrate everything without colliding, how could they impart any momentum?
that would be one of the mysteries of the universe....not everything is understood or explainable by man.... :)