March 09, 2006

Ozone checkup

In the newsroom the ozone layer has been upstaged by climate change. But how is it going for our global shield against damaging ultraviolet radiation? Well, as the first figure shows, the atmospheric concentration of CFC gases is decreasing. Their production has essentially stopped, but it will take a while to wash the compounds out of the atmosphere because they are strong molecules. The atmospheric concentrations of the CFC replacements, including HCFCs and HFCs, is increasing. The CFC replacements also damage the ozone layer, and they are greenhouse gases, but much much less so than for the compounds they replace. The second graph shows the current and future status of the mid-latitude ozone layer-- that is, the amount of ozone over our heads. It should be back to its old self by mid-century, if nothing else happens.
In one way this is a global success story, since the governments of the world saw the problem and did something about it. The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole sped the process greatly, but the real concern has always been the mid-latitude ozone over our heads. Its an old lesson really, the shit needs to hit the fan before people pay attention. Will there be a global warming wake-up call?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Web Counter
Web Site Counter

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]