Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's not Ozone, it's No-zone

But is it our fault?

The U.N. World Meteorological Association is having a cow over the fact that Antarctica's famous Ozone Hole is just about as big this year as it has ever been.

GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- The hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica has grown to near record size this year, suggesting 20 years of pollution controls have so far had little effect, the United Nations said on Friday.

In a bulletin on the seasonal depletion of ozone gas, which filters harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the hole would peak within a couple of weeks.

"It will probably not break any records, but it shows that ozone depletion is going on and that the so-called ozone recovery has yet to be confirmed," Geir Braathen, WMO's top ozone expert, told a news briefing.

Perhaps they were expecting too much too soon. Only last month U.S. scientists announced that although the damage had peaked it would take several years for shrinkage to set in.

Two thoughts:

(1) The report notes that the "developing" countries have not met their obligations under a huge "Let's All Be CFC Free" treaty. The report does not tell you that China is the biggest under-achiever. It surely ought to.

(2) What if CFCs are only part of the problem. What if solar radiation produced by huge, record setting sunspots generate geomagnetic displays (auroras) that, as a by-product of their luminosity, damage the protective ozone layer?

Huh, huh?


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