When I was still teaching biology, I tried to get my students to distinguish between Climate Change and Ozone Depletion. Now, it seems, those issues are connected after all.

Climate Change Could Erode Ozone Layer Over U.S.

Harvard scientists hit us with some bad news: It looks as if climate change could actually cause the depletion of the ozone layer to resume on a wide scale, with grim implications for the United States.

“What this research does is connect, for the first time, climate change with ozone depletion, and ozone loss is directly tied to increases in skin cancer incidence, because more ultraviolet radiation is penetrating the atmosphere.”...

warm-temperature summer storms can force moisture high up into the stratosphere, a layer of the atmosphere that sits about 6 miles above our heads. Typically, storm updrafts are halted at a boundary just below the stratosphere, but in a series of observation flights above the U.S., the team saw that storms with sufficient power injected water vapor into the stratosphere via convection currents.

Because water vapor raises the air temperature in the immediate vicinity, it allows compounds such as chlorine—leftover from CFCs, which will remain in our atmosphere for decades—to undergo a chemical shift into a free radical form, which then depletes ozone. In the warmer air above the U.S., the researchers measured that the local presence of water vapor increased the rate of ozone erosion as high as one hundredfold.

...the researchers can’t say just how much total increased ozone depletion has occurred so far. But their concern is the future. The problem is that, as previous studies have shown, climate change is likely to mean more warm-temperature storms, especially over populated mid-latitude regions...[emphasis mine]

Every Student Fears Skin Cancer

Tags: Climate Change, ozone depletion, skin cancer

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