Remember the Ozone hole in the Antarctic? The chart at the right appears to show that the ozone hole is growing, not shrinking, which would be at odds with those who think that the problem is solved. In fact, a 2006 report showed that in that year, the ozone hole was at record levels. Didn’t see that in a movie or on the news, did you? I reported in November 2008 that the Ozone hole was the 5th largest recorded in history.
In my mind the depletion of the ozone layer is the gravest concern regarding global pollution, followed by water pollution. I mentioned previously that one could argue that lack of clean water is potentially a bigger threat than global warming. I consequently got called a “global warming denier” even though I said no such thing. My contention is that the debate is and should continue as to the cause of rising global temperatures. But, no one seems to talk much about ozone depletion.
The reason why I put the ozone issue at the top of the list is that without the ozone, all life dies. Period. Global warming will alter the planet markedly, potentially cause economic and political upheavel and alter certain species habitats. It would be a mess. Water pollution is more dire, in my view, because it is definitely happening now and bodies of water are dead and people around the world cannot get clean water which is a basic need of life. But ozone…that’s an end gamer. While its been forgotten by the media and most in the public, research continues and recently, there was an acknowledgement of the continuation of the ozone hole when it was postulated that perhaps, the Antarctic Ozone Hole might be responsible for an increase in sea ice, which would answer why sea ice has been growing in Antarctica instead of shrinking as per the global warming model.
In the 1987, Congress and other political bodies around the world agreed to the Montreal Protocal that would cut in half the production of chemicals that were seen to destroy the ozone layer by 1998. Further study was done and in 1992 it was determined that the ozone layer was in worse shape than was originally thought, so an agreement was hammered out to end halon production completely by 1994 and CFC’s by 1996. If you want the most recent stuff on the Ozone hole, NASA has Ozone Watch.
Here’s the rub about the whole thing. In 1987, the cutbacks on Halons and CFCs began. The ozone hole continued to grow. That would be expected because aerosols released at the surface generally take about 15 years or so to reach the stratosphere. Hence, a reaction to the legislation wouldn’t be felt for some time. The science was supposedly “settled” in the eyes of the public and the media. So no one much paid attention. A few years later, it is found that the settled science was wrong! So much for ending discussions among scientists. So, the conclusion was that things were worse than previously presented and so halons and CFC’s were banned altogether. Much of what has been written lately claims that the problem is getting better. But if you look at the chart at the upper right, you find that the 2008 level of depletion is less than the 97-98 peak, but still higher than in recent years. The problem is still there. Whether or not last year was an anomoly or a trend remains to be seen. But focus needs to remain sharp. Like water pollution, this is a real threat that we know for certain is happening. The facts have changed over time and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it change again. Wonder what would happen if it were found that the ozone depletion was part of a larger phenomena that we are not aware of…something that passing a few laws cannot change? But, man loves to think that he is in charge and can do anything.
Weather Bottom Line: We have a frontal zone set up just to our south. Overrunning moisture is producing clouds that will keep our temperatures in check. A wave will run along the front to the south and produce some pretty good t’storms. I think the official forecast has some sort of risk for t’storms around here but, like yesterday, unless I see some sunshine then I won’t be too worried about that. Once the wave passes, the front will get energized and move farther south taking the clouds with it. High pressure will build in and we’ll have sunshine with seasonal temperatures for the much of the week ahead.