Main | Friday, July 27, 2012

Bad Weather Threatens Ozone Layer

According to a new study, this summer's waves of ferocious thunderstorms are threatening the ozone layer over North America.
Strong summer thunderstorms that pump water high into the upper atmosphere pose a threat to the protective ozone layer over the United States, researchers said on Thursday, drawing one of the first links between climate change and ozone loss over populated areas. In a study published online by the journal Science, Harvard University scientists reported that some storms send water vapor miles into the stratosphere — which is normally drier than a desert — and showed how such events could rapidly set off ozone-destroying reactions with chemicals that remain in the atmosphere from CFCs, refrigerant gases that are now banned. The risk of ozone damage, scientists said, could increase if global warming leads to more such storms. “It’s the union between ozone loss and climate change that is really at the heart of this,” said James G. Anderson, an atmospheric scientist and the lead author of the study.
Scientists warn that a thinning of the ozone layer will affect crops and farm animals and lead to an increase in skin cancers.

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