Hole in ozone over northern hemisphere in 2011 largest ever seen

October 3, 2011ARCTIC – A huge hole that appeared in the Earth’s protective ozone layer above the Arctic in 2011 was the largest recorded in the northern hemisphere, though the sudden appearance of the hole was not due to man-made causes, scientists said in a report on Monday. The ozone layer high in the stratosphere acts like a giant shield against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause skin cancer and cataracts. Since the 1980s, scientists have charted the size of the ozone hole every summer above the Antarctic. Some years, the holes have been so large that they covered the entire continent and stretched to parts of South America. During extreme events, up to 70% of the ozone layer can be destroyed, before it recovers months later. The hole above the Arctic was always much smaller – until March this year, when a combination of powerful wind patterns and intense cold temperatures high up in the atmosphere created the right conditions for already-present, ozone-eating chlorine chemicals to damage the layer. The findings, reported on Monday in the journal Nature, show that the hole had opened over northern Russia, parts of Greenland, and Norway, meaning people in these areas were likely to have been exposed to high levels of UV radiation. “The 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,” say the scientists, led by Gloria Manney of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The scientists say man-made chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destroy ozone in the stratosphere, after sunlight breaks up the complex chemicals into simpler forms that react with ozone. While some of the chemicals are covered by a UN treaty that aims to stop their use, it will be decades before they are fully phased out of production. Normally, atmospheric conditions high above the Arctic do not trigger a large-scale plunge in ozone levels. But during the 2010/11 winter, a high-altitude wind pattern called the polar vortex was unusually strong, leading to very cold conditions in the stratosphere that also lasted for several months. This created the right conditions for the ozone-destroying forms of chlorine to slash ozone levels over a long period. The report’s authors said there was a risk that the spread of the Arctic hole could become an annual event. –The Guardian
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18 Responses to Hole in ozone over northern hemisphere in 2011 largest ever seen

  1. Hmmm. Could this eventually end up affecting the cold protection of the Norwegian Seed Bank Vault? If so, that would be… unfortunate.

    Plane travel is EXTREMELY devastating the protective mantle of the Earth. Use a zillion plastic bags rather than take a plane flight – it would be less devastating to the Earth. Actually, DON’T use a zillion plastic bags. Not good, either.

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    • twitter: @richardkpage says:

      I have done as you asked and am sat on some plastic bags awaiting my arrival and JFK, can you advise how long this usually takes as, Its been 11 hours now and my usual flight only takes nine.

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  2. RainMan says:

    They state that it will take months for the Ozone layer to recover, during that time will it have a significant effect on the glacier/ice meltdown?

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  3. Ron says:

    these are on a cycle…right? we have only been able to observe these changes closely for the past 50 years give or take…Man is responsable for some of the effects to our ozone but in my opinion this is a natural occurance…

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  4. dana says:

    Alvin, Lake Superior is strinking and heating up. You can go to Google and type “Lake Superior heating up” there is all kinds of web sites about it. I was wondering about the bottom of lake if its warming up by magna or steam vent or something. It’s world largest body of fresh water heated up by surface makes me scratching my head and puzzled.

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  5. Thinking about what Ellienne Cici said, I would think with the hole in the ozone along with the solar flares that are now occurring, wouldn’t the radiation levels be unsafe in an airplane? And, is this also the reason that skin cancer has become so prevalent? (When I was growing up, we didn’t have sun screen, only sun tan lotion.) Or has skin cancer always been around but not diagnosed? Sorry for all the questions, but there is a lot I really don’t understand, which is why I read this site and all the comments.

    Maranatha

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  6. Dan says:

    Alvin, could the Japan EQ (Fukushima) have nothing to do with this? Radiation effects the O3 molecule, perhaps freeing electrons, and producing, say O2, maybe H2O???

    Thoughts?

    Dan

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  7. Rohan says:

    Would this be a cause for the extremely high temperatures recorded in the US?

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  8. Kim says:

    The Antarctic ozone hole forms when extremely cold conditions, common in the winter Antarctic stratosphere, trigger reactions that convert atmospheric chlorine from human-produced chemicals into forms that destroy ozone. While the same ozone-loss processes occur each winter in the Arctic, the generally warmer stratospheric conditions there limit the area affected and the time frame during which the chemical reactions occur. This means there is generally far less ozone loss in most years in the Arctic than in the Antarctic. This year, however, the Arctic stratospheric temperature is much colder than normal, hence the formation of the hole. It all ads up to a cooling trend which will become more readily visible over the next few years. Despite the considerable Arctic summer ice melt this year, it began to refreeze earlier than at any time in the past 10 years.

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  9. The Sun is Getting more and More Difficult to Look at. I live in South Florida and over the years I have watched it change from Golden to Luminous like the new age Light Bulbs we are now required to use. It has gone through changes from Hydrogen to Helium = We Know there is another Gaseous Object Crossing into our Solar System near the present time. It I believe is our Binary Sun’s Big Brother – Unlit. A Black Carbon Star. HUGE.Most Universes have two suns or More. Earth is unusual to have one. That could really mean Lights out. Destroyer Returns.
    Another BIG BANG.

    I can’t even imagine this thing could be a Black Hole. But, if you watch the Happenings around the Sun it is Fascinating. Like a Busy Airport. I am beginning to Wonder if it isn’t a Portal to a Higher Order. Interesting Times. ❤¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♥

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