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Scientist Warns of ARCTIC Ozone Hole

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 387 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... SCIENTIST WARNS OF ARCTIC OZONE HOLE Independent
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 27, 2000
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      NHNE News List
      Current Members: 387
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      Independent Online
      October 26 2000


      London - A leading British scientist predicted on Thursday that an ozone
      hole would start developing over the North Pole, similar to the badly
      damaged ozone layer over Antarctica.

      Jonathan Shanklin - one of a trio of British scientists who discovered the
      Antarctic ozone hole in 1985 - told the BBC: "We think that within the next
      20 years we're likely to see an ozone hole perhaps as big as the present one
      over Antarctica, but over the North Pole."

      The cause, he said, was partly ozone erosion as well as a byproduct of
      global warming.

      An obscure aspect of global warming is that even though it increases the
      temperature at the Earth's surface, it paradoxically causes colder
      temperatures in the lower stratosphere, where the ozone layer is located.

      These lower temperatures, especially in winter, cause stratospheric clouds
      to form in the polar regions, initiating a reaction with chlorine molecules
      released by manmade gases, he said.

      "Chemistry can take place on them (the clouds) that activates the chlorine
      and makes it very much easier for it to destroy the ozone," Shanklin said.

      The Antarctic hole has been expanding dramatically in the past few years.

      This year's was the largest recorded. US satellite measurements last month
      estimated it three times bigger than the entire land mass of the United

      However, such is Antarctica's isolation that only a small number of people,
      living in the Falkland Islands and the tip of South America, are affected so

      But a similar-sized hole over the North Pole would affect densely-populated
      parts of western Europe, northeast Asia and North America.

      Ozone molecules make up a thin layer of the atmosphere that absorbs harmful
      ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, a potential cause of skin cancer,
      sunburn, cataracts and damage to forests and crops.

      Man-made gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons and bromides are
      the chief cause of ozone layer destruction.

      The first global agreement to restrict CFCs came with the signing of the
      Montreal Protocol in 1987, ultimately aiming to reduce them by half by 2000.

      Until recently, climatologists hope these curbs would lead to a recovery of
      the ozone layer within 2050, but recent investigations suggest the problem
      is much worse than previously thought.


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