- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Greenhouse gas emissions and whether the climate is warming to levels that could create disasters creates long-lasting discussions between groups. Both sides of the arguments can get quite animated and emotional. However, a few years ago, the major atmospheric calamity focused on a hole that was growing in the ozone layer surrounding the Earth.
Our sun plays a significant role in life on Earth. However, that same orb can also cause major damage because of the radiation it sends our way. A layer of ozone gas exists high in our atmosphere is serves as a filter to block certain of these energy waves. Decades ago, scientists noted that a hole had formed in this layer down around the Antarctic continent. Observations determined the hole was increasing in size over time. This event caused a great amount of concern.
After many research projects and reports, it was determined that a number of man-made products were being aerosoled into the atmosphere and working their way to these lofty heights and reacting with the ozone. Countries around the globe helped to take action by banning certain chemical uses. Companies had to quickly develop alternative chemical compounds for their products that could provide similar characteristics but would not react with the ozone.
While the ozone hole grew and shrank and moved over time, few people doubted that problem was real and would impact every living thing on the planet. Heated global warming discussions took our attention away from the problem. Besides, scientists told us that it would take some time to notice any change in direction.
Atmospheric scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand released data on Friday, Dec. 03, 2010, that demonstrated a 5-year decline in the size of the ozone depleted areas. The maximum size of the hole has been determined to have occurred in 2000 when it covered 11.2 million square miles with an ozone deficit of 43 million tons. The data collected from atmospheric research centers show that last year, the hole was 9.3 million square miles with an ozone deficit of 35 million tons and there does appear to be a trend developing.
While it is not time to break out the sun screen and lounge for too long on the beach, it is nice to get some good new once in a while.