The ozone layer absorbs solar ultraviolet radiation and is located 10 to 29 miles in altitude in the upper atmosphere. It shields humans and life forms on planet Earth from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet light. Chlorofluorocarbons used as refrigerants, aerosols, and solvents have depleted this important layer. The weakening of the ozone has played a critical role in Earth’s climate and in higher rates of skin cancer.
According to the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research: “The amount of energy entering and escaping from Earth is the determining factor in climate. Any changes to that balance-either the input or the output-will cause a directional change in climate. Observations have conclusively demonstrated that the atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases has risen dramatically since the onset of the Industrial Age. Human activities such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation have caused this increase.”
Why should we care?
Harvard University scientists have recently published a study indicating that strong thunderstorms are now poking holes in the protective ozone layer. These storms inject water into the layer, creating damaging reactions with chlorofluorocarbons. Consequently, global warming increases the strength of these storms resulting in the ozone’s depletion.
The New York Times reporter Henry Fountain’s interview with one of the scientists behind the study: “Dr. Anderson said that if climate change related to emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane led to more events in which water was injected well into the stratosphere, the effect on ozone could not be halted because the chemistry would continue. ‘It’s irreversible,’ he said.”
Currently, Antarctica and other polar regions have the biggest holes and thinning in the ozone layer. What would happen if these areas moved over highly populated areas? Let’s not wait to see the consequences worsen.
The debate if global warming exists or not is nonsense and science proves that. As a result, it’s time for action instead of denial. Life on planet Earth depends on it.