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posted by takyon on Monday November 06, @08:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the EUV-from-above dept.

NASA: Ozone hole smallest it's been since 1988

NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been monitoring the ozone hole since it was first discovered in 1985. The agencies use satellites, weather balloons and ground-based instruments to study and track the hole. The ozone hole changes throughout the year and reached its 2017 peak size on Sept. 11 at the end of the region's wintertime.

Scientists weren't surprised by the size of the hole this year. "This is what we would expect to see given the weather conditions in the Antarctic stratosphere," says Paul A. Newman, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA cites warmer global temperatures as a factor in reducing the hole.

But don't get too excited. NASA says the smaller hole "is due to natural variability and not a signal of rapid healing." The ozone hole still covered 7.6 million square miles (nearly 20 million square kilometers), or over two and a half times the size of Australia. Still, scientists are optimistic about the ozone hole eventually healing over time.


Original Submission

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Ozone Layer May be Thinning Near the Equator 8 comments

The ozone layer may be recovering above Antarctica, but not over the equator:

Thirty years after nations banded together to phase out chemicals that destroy stratospheric ozone, the gaping hole in the earth's ultraviolet (UV) radiation shield above Antarctica is shrinking. But new findings suggest that at mid-latitudes, where most people live, the ozone layer in the lower stratosphere is growing more tenuous--for reasons that scientists are struggling to fathom.

"I don't want people to panic or get overly worried," says William Ball, an atmospheric physicist at the Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos World Radiation Centre in Switzerland. "But there is something happening in the lower stratosphere that's important to understand."

Several recent studies, including one published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, point to a robust recovery of stratospheric ozone concentrations over Antarctica--the long-awaited payoff after the Montreal Protocol in 1987 mandated a global phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-eating compounds.

But recent evidence indicates that the global campaign to mend the ozone layer is far from over. In an analysis published today in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Ball and colleagues combined satellite data to examine ozone at mid-latitudes, from Earth's surface on up through the troposphere and the stratosphere. They found that from 1998 to 2016, ozone in the lower stratosphere ebbed by 2.2 Dobson units--a measure of ozone thickness--even as concentrations in the upper stratosphere rose by about 0.8 Dobson units. "We saw it at almost every latitude and every altitude below about 25 kilometers," Ball says. "That made us very concerned that perhaps this was something very real that no one looked at before."

Also at the Imperial College London and Newsweek.

Evidence for a continuous decline in lower stratospheric ozone offsetting ozone layer recovery (open, DOI: 10.5194/acp-18-1379-2018) (DX)

Decline in Antarctic Ozone Depletion and Lower Stratospheric Chlorine Determined From Aura Microwave Limb Sounder Observations (DOI: 10.1002/2017GL074830) (DX)

Previously: Ozone Layer Hole at its Smallest Size Since 1988


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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Entropy on Monday November 06, @08:30AM (4 children)

    by Entropy (4228) on Monday November 06, @08:30AM (#592929)

    Just like it being too hot, or too cold, or too much arctic ice, or not enough arctic ice....

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @08:33AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @08:33AM (#592931)

      If you read the summary, you will notice that is the case.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @04:45PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @04:45PM (#593156)

        Yes, that is precisely the point OP was making. If the ozone hole had gotten larger instead, it still would have been deemed a sign of global warming.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday November 06, @07:37PM (1 child)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday November 06, @07:37PM (#593267) Journal

      Or maybe it's just science getting it right like it usually does.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday November 07, @06:02AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 07, @06:02AM (#593513) Journal

        Or maybe it's just science getting it right like it usually does.

        Only if science delivers the right answers. We still don't know, for example, if the ozone hole is something that showed up for the first time in the 1980s or if it's been going off and on for the past five million years. But the current narrative makes a cool story, bro.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @08:30AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @08:30AM (#592930)

    of environmentalist action. And it was so despite industry resisting and the Reagan administration. Interesting read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_depletion#Public_policy [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by realDonaldTrump on Monday November 06, @08:59AM (4 children)

      by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 06, @08:59AM (#592938) Homepage Journal

      Unemployment is down to 4.1%, lowest in 17 years. 1.5 million new jobs created since I took office. Highest stock market ever, up $5.4 trillion. Ozone hole down to 7.6 million square miles, smallest in 29 years. I think nobody knows our complex economy & environment better than I do, maybe in the history of the world, which is why I'm the only one who could truly fix both. #TRUMP2020 🇺🇸

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      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @09:30AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @09:30AM (#592949)

        The joke is wearing thin.
        Time to retire this account.

        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday November 06, @12:16PM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday November 06, @12:16PM (#592999) Journal

          That's the beauty of it. It doesn't go away until the President does (and probably not for a while after that).

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          • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @02:59PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, @02:59PM (#593064)

            The other thing is, whenever I read some R written thing I get halfway through before I realize it isn't RDT posting.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 07, @03:35AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 07, @03:35AM (#593445)

              ... that would be rDT ...

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