Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Arctic Ozone Hole Breaks All Records"

I missed this headline about the record-breaking hole in the Arctic when it hit the news.

I discovered it in response to a search I conducted today after someone at Enenews mentioned that Fukushima had blown an unprecedented hole in the Arctic ozone.

I googled the topic and found the headline above from New Scientist, dated Oct 2 2011 "Arctic Ozone Hole Breaks All Records"

The New Scientist is covering research published in Nature 

Unprecedented Arctic ozone loss in 2011. Nature 478,469–475(27 October 2011) doi:10.1038/nature10556 

Abstract: Chemical ozone destruction occurs over both polar regions in local winter–spring. In the Antarctic, essentially complete removal of lower-stratospheric ozone currently results in an ozone hole every year, whereas in the Arctic, ozone loss is highly variable and has until now been much more limited. Here we demonstrate that chemical ozone destruction over the Arctic in early 2011 was—for the first time in the observational record—comparable to that in the Antarctic ozone hole. Unusually long-lasting cold conditions in the Arctic lower stratosphere led to persistent enhancement in ozone-destroying forms of chlorine and to unprecedented ozone loss, which exceeded 80 per cent over 18–20 kilometres altitude. Our results show that Arctic ozone holes are possible even with temperatures much milder than those in the Antarctic. We cannot at present predict when such severe Arctic ozone depletion may be matched or exceeded. 

Majia here: Once has to wonder whether this UNPRECEDENTED hole was caused by Fukushima's UNPRECEDENTED release of radiation....

 Radioxenon levels were 40,000X Average Concentration In Pacific Northwest in Week Following Accident.  Bowyer, T. W. et al. (2011). Elevated Radioxenon Detected Remotely Following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 102, 681-687


1 comment:

  1. Most ozone (O3) is the result of lightning and industrial production for numerous beneficial applications—such as air and water cleansing and as a disinfectant in place of chlorine. Despite being generated by our white blood cells and by certain plants, it is short lived and not readily transported because it quickly decays to O2. Small commercial ozone generators are available for sale to consumers. Ozone is harmful to breathing animals, so concentrations in excess of sixty parts per billion should generally be avoided—depending on time of exposure. Nevertheless, when ozone rises to the stratosphere, it forms a layer twenty kilometers thick at between fifteen and thirty-five kilometers above ground that filters out 93-98 percent of the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

    Laws requiring the substitution of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by non-ozone-destroying gases have had a beneficial effect in reducing the “hole” in the ozone layer. Since it only has a duration of twenty-two days in the atmosphere, ozone must be constantly replaced—mostly by the sun’s ultraviolet rays reacting with oxygen but also, besides lightning, by our high-voltage electrical grids and motors using carbon brushes. This cycle has its limits so we must avoid destroying the ozone layer that circulates above the earth. There should be more research to learn what other factors impact the supply, destruction, and escape of ozone, without which there can be no life. Without the ozone layer, our farm products would burn up “on the vine,” as would we.

    When a space shuttle or Russian rocket sends supplies and scientists to the space station, each flight destroys ten thousand tons of ozone of the mere three billion tons protecting us. Increased space exploration and potentially huge numbers of flights for Earth-orbital sightseeing and moon tourism bode ill for the maintenance of this fragile layer. Better means of escaping from Earth’s atmosphere will necessitate the development of astounding solutions. We can visualize satellite terminals in stationary orbit above the atmospheric ozone layer from which nuclear-powered spaceships depart to the moon—and to which they might return. Or, we might have to fill tanks with ozone commercially produced on Earth and attach them to a satellite that would slowly release the gas in the orbit of the ozone layer.

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