Thursday, April 7, 2011

So much for having solved the ozone hole problem

Record-Low Arctic Ozone Leads to High UV Radiation in Finland

13 comments:

Peter O'Donnell said...

This is interesting because I'm not sure how much action this depleted ozone layer will cause to take place in the international community. The major issue is carbon emissions, not ozone depletion. Perhaps this issue will be addressed and bring about stricter policies about the emission of gasses which deplete ozone.

Wendelbo said...

I don't know whether to be more sad for the Ozone, the Finns or for the fact that Finland by these authors is considered Scandinavia. Either way, it is bitter-sweet irony that ozone depletion zones are reaching Scandinavia, considering that the northern countries were some of the first and most effective at dealing with ozone issues. It only serves to show that concentrated efforts are useless - we won't improve any atmospheric problem without the concerted effort of, well, everyone.

Bobby Gorman said...

CO2 radiative forcing cools the stratoshpere, which then causes ozone depletion. So hopefully the concern of too much CO2 in the atmosphere and global warming will cause the international community to come to an agreement on some way of taxing carbon, because then ozone depletion will decrease as well, as a positive externality.

Ann McCampbell said...

I was surprised to read about the extent of ozone depletion. Clearly greenhouse gases are the major issue behind ozone depletion. It is ironic that North European countries are bearing the cost of ozone depletion when they have not historically be major contributors to CO2 emissions. I am sorry for the danger finland faces as they bear the cost of global emissions.

michelle said...

The ozone damage faced by Finland just shows the globalization of CO2 emission damages, with countries who are dealing effectively with lowering their emissions bearing the cost of other's excess/continued emission. Hopefully, this extensive ozone depletion will be enough of a wake up call for the global community to work together to reduce co2 emissions. Like Morten said, "concentrated efforts are useless," at least in dealing with the CO2 emission, however, the localized efforts are essential for pollution reduction.

Becca Bolton said...

It is definitely unfortunate to know that the ozone layer is being depleted even after the Montreal Protocol. This data shows that even if we begin cutting our emissions today, the stock that we have already released is still going to create problems. I just don't think that the majority of people are aware of the problems that can and will occur with ozone depletion. I'm not sure how bad the news has to be in order to get people to start paying attention to these types of issues. Apparently the bickering in Congress is more important than the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth.

David Dennis said...

The decrease in the ozone layer which results in high UV radiation can be dangerous for those who don't expect sunburn early in the year. People tend to not wear sunscreen during the early months and therefore cancer and related problems may develop.

However, the main problem for the global society is the increase in global temperatures which will ultimately displace millions of people and potentially result in unimaginable costs. This all relates to the GCC issue in determining who should pay the costs to combat the growing problem. It could be argued that the US needs to take a greater position so that others will follow. Obviously countries can be affected who are not the main contributors and therefore the price of carbon emissions has to be balanced among all involved.

Paige G said...

These record low ozone levels above Finland are a testament to the indirect effects of GHG's. When most people hear climate change, they think global warming and the direct effects like rising sea-levels and temperature increases. Unless you're a meteorologist or climatologist, you wouldn't even think of all the chemical interactions and subtle changes in climate that make up the indirect effects. If people knew ozone depletion was part of the damage cost of GHG's, would they be more willing to reduce their consumption? Unless they live in an effected area, probably not.

curriee13 said...

It is too bad that the issue of record-low ozone and high UV radiation addressed in this article has not gotten as much attention as it should be getting. I don’t know much about the measureable Dobson units of ozone, but it seems like a drop from 420 to 250 units is a significant decrease. I hope that raising the awareness of this issue will be a wakeup call for people to consider the serious implications of CFC use and greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging people around the world to realize that these pollutants need to be strictly regulated and that the time to act is now.

curriee13 said...

It is too bad that the issue of record-low ozone and high UV radiation addressed in this article has not gotten as much attention as it should be getting. I don’t know much about the measureable Dobson units of ozone, but it seems like a drop from 420 to 250 units is a significant decrease. I hope that raising the awareness of this issue will be a wakeup call for people to consider the serious implications of CFC use and greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging people around the world to realize that these pollutants need to be strictly regulated and that the time to act is now.

gioioson12 said...

It’s ironic to think that the these Northern European countries are bearing the brunt of the effects of ozone depletion when these same countries are some of the most proactive in terms of fighting emissions of harmful chemicals and GHGs. It just goes to show that a solution has to be comprehensive, because not every country is witness to the costs associated to their actions, and some countries become victims of the actions of others. To put it in economic terms, our goal must be to equate the abatement costs of all the countries of the world so that those countries that can abate more at lower costs can do so and we can reach our emission target.

This article also goes to show how harmful carbon emissions are – we can fight the release of CFCs and other gases, but carbon seems to be the recurring theme here, and an exacerbating factor for what’s already up there in the atmosphere.

J.P. Sauer said...

This is a major issue due to the exponential growth characteristic of ozone holes. This ozone hole is example of a true international environmental issue. The article itself talks about how the ozone-depleted masses are moving towards Russia and China. This underscores the need for a international agreement in fighting environmental issues. Maybe another revision to the Montreal Protocol that accounts for the rapid population growth? (the last revision was in 1999)

Kelly Cossey said...

This is a pretty drastic decrease in ozone cover. According to the linked Reuters article, the ozone column in that region has had about a 40% loss from the beginning of winter to March. Before this, the greatest loss had been about 30% over the past 15 years and throughout several seasons. That’s a huge loss in just a couple of months. This article kind of downplays the harmful effects of an increase in UV radiation caused by ozone depletion, though, saying it still won’t be of the same intensity as you suffer in the tropics. In any case, it is a little disheartening to know that even as we cut down on the chemicals that cause this type of depletion, it will still take decades before they are actually gone. We are always living with constant reminders of how we treated the environment in the past.