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A worrying rate of ozone depletion is found above the Arctic

By Nikki Bruce - 14 Mar 2011 22:3:46 GMT
A worrying rate of ozone depletion is found above the Arctic

The Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI), which is based in Germany has announced the findings of its latest research into the deterioration of the ozone above the Arctic. The data comes from 30 ozone sounding stations which are located throughout the Arctic and Subarctic and were put there to monitor the depletion of the ozone layer.

The ozone is destroyed when products from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are converted into aggressive substances, this happens when they come into contact with extremely cold conditions and there has long been a link between climate change and the loss of the ozone.

Although the relationship between the depletion of the ozone and climate change hasn't been clearly established yet, it is believed that because the concentrations of greenhouse gases are building up on the lower levels of the Earth"s atmosphere (therefore trapping the heat within them too) then less heat radiation reaches the higher stratosphere which in turn increases the cooling effect there.

The Arctic in particular appears to suffer the highest level of ozone depletion due to the already harsh winters becoming even colder. The current winter, which is what the readings from the sounding stations are based upon, is a continuation of the increasing severity of winter conditions and has provided some of the most shocking results to date.

The sounding stations have found that in the space of a few weeks a large section of the ozone was destroyed at an unusually rapid pace. Experts believe that because the depletion was so sudden that it is likely to continue over the next few months.

This has immediate effects for everyone, and as a result of this it has been suggested that focus should be directed towards sufficient UV protection from as early as spring this year.

The findings aren't totally damning however, as the scientists behind them assure us that the damage to the ozone above the Arctic will eventually recover. This is due to the environmental policies which have been put in place for its preservation.