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Ozone Layer Improving Faster Than Expected 325

Posted by Zonk
from the go-ozone-go-ozone dept.
SpaceAdmiral writes "Since the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which limited ozone-destroying gasses like CFCs, the Earth's ozone layer has been recovering. However, new studies show that the ozone in the lower stratosphere is actually recovering faster than the Montreal Protocol alone can explain." From the article: "It's a complicated question. CFCs are not the only things that can influence the ozone layer; sunspots, volcanoes and weather also play a role. Ultraviolet rays from sunspots boost the ozone layer, while sulfurous gases emitted by some volcanoes can weaken it. Cold air in the stratosphere can either weaken or boost the ozone layer, depending on altitude and latitude. These processes and others are laid out in a review just published in the May 4th issue of Nature: 'The search for signs of recovery of the ozone layer' by Elizabeth Westhead and Signe Andersen."
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Ozone Layer Improving Faster Than Expected

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  • by bheer (633842) <[rbheer] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @03:40AM (#15415024)
    but this is how science progresses. Wherever you see a scientist take a stand saying, "hmm, that's odd, I wonder why that happened" there's a chance that real discovery and a real increase in our understanding can happen.

    People who trot out wildly extrapolated results from global warming simulations ("OMG NY will under water by 2100!") sound to me like the same people who predicted city-sized computers back in the 50s because there was no way their simulations could have predicted microelectronics.

    Climate is a complex system with many variables, human output being only one of them. Frankly, I've always held the greens would have a much better case if they focused on quality-of-life improvements brought about by cleaner air than by trying to create artificial energy regulations in the name of global warming (which *is* happening, but it doesn't necessarily follow that humans are the sole factor).

    But hey, there's a reason green and left politics go together-- sticking it to big industry is a good way of sticking it to the Man.
  • by malsdavis (542216) * on Saturday May 27, 2006 @04:57AM (#15415156)
    I think its all about 'margin of error'. Predictions may have a 1%, 5% or even 15% margin of error. The complex nature of ozone layer recovery (like all climate predictions) means the error margin is bigger than say predicting radioactive decay (which has a very small but still definate error margin). What pisses me off is when idiots (normally with vested interests) take that 10% possible margin of error and try to pretend it means that the theory could have a 100% margin of error. As a very small group of certain 'so called scientists' are still trying to do with global warming.
  • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @05:15AM (#15415180) Journal
    Then surrounded by thick smoke , gases and eating toxic food we will find ourselves in a medium in wich we would really evolve.

    I'm sorry, I must have got something wrong...
    How exactly does this differ from our current situation?

    Smog excluded, this is what every room with a smoker present looks like to me.

  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @05:17AM (#15415183) Homepage Journal
    While you happily play with words like parent poster were a paranoid, anybody else can read interesting stuff like:

    However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

    (source) [fda.gov]
  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @05:41AM (#15415212)
    "We're playing with chemicals, eating toxic foods, messing with nature's balance, wasting or restoring ozone layer beyond our comprehension, using electronics that cause tumors and other illnesses..."

    This is called trial and error. It is a driving force behind micro-evolution and macroscopic-evolutionary systems such as business, society, politics, etc...

    Often times, even very smart human beings must behave in counter-productive error in order to achieve a new understanding of progress.

    So yes, as a whole, we, the people of Earth are doing some very stupid and all around ignorant things. We are currently in the infancy of finally appreciating the error and gravity of many contemporary ways.

    In time, we will look back upon this age and say, "How foolish we were playing with all those chemicals, disregarding nature, and not to mention: How did humans survive past twenty ingesting all of the toxic chemical-laden so called processed foods? And what was up with all those automobiles burning all that fossil fuel over all that time? My god, it actually rained acid back then!"

    It is through these trials with their capacity for error that we learn what to do and what not to do.

    When I was three, I put my hand on an electric stove the moment it reverted from red to black in order to see if it was immediately cool at that point. Well, it wasn't. A trip to the hospital and weeks with a hand wrapped in gauze later, I had learned something new and beneficial, and I learned through ignorance and error.

    This is just how the game is played, that's all.

    William

  • by toupsie (88295) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @06:44AM (#15415317) Homepage
    The people in the southern reaches of the southern hemisphere do not think it is a hoax: the incidence of skin cancer mushroomed in southern Chile as the hole in the ozone increased. Not the end of the world, but a real and ongoing health hazard.

    Must be the better methods of detecting skin cancer and the wider access to medical services over time. If more people are being examined, more conditions will be found.

  • by ccarson (562931) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @07:17AM (#15415388)
    Apparently, the Earth magnetic field has decreased by 10% in the last 10 years. I'm an electrical engineer and during my studies in sub-atomic physics, I learned that a particles velocity can be effected by magnetic fields. I keep hearing about the increased activity of our Sun (it's been getting hotter) and I believe it's possible that more of the Sun's radiation is penetrating the Earth's magnetic field due to it being weaker. If more radiation hits the Earth and the Sun is spewing out more heat, shouldn't that also increase the overall temperature of the Earth and can global warming be attributed to this? Besides, how can you explain the recent same climate changes on Jupitor [space.com] and Mars. I've been bouncing this idea in my head for a while now and I can't see why this MAY not be true.
  • by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @10:30AM (#15415978) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but how much is the CFC's responsable for? Is the variation part of a cycle? We know that the earth operates in cycles that can be measured in centuries and eons. Ozone levels also depend on on how active the sun is.

    In other words, it's not so simple.
  • by Alfred, Lord Tennyso (975342) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:06AM (#15416115)
    Yes, there are, but who gets to decide what they are?

    Science gets a special place in making those decisions. If it says, "The sky is going to fall if you don't do this, no matter what it costs", they (we, actually; I'm a scientist) merit special attention. People stopped using CFCs on scientists' say-so, for an ozone hole most people never noticed.

    That means that they have to be right. Scientists get that pass because they're so often right. When they're wrong, especially on big stuff, it chips away at that special voice scientists have.

    You're right that there are things more important than money. But we have to agree on what those are; no individual gets to say, "The ozone hole is the most important thing in the world and you have to spend your money to fix it!" The same applies to any other issue: global warming, fisheries management, logging, etc.

    You may spend your money any way you like, but when you start reaching into somebody else's pocket to solve problems you'd better be damn sure you're right.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:59AM (#15416298) Journal
    Simple selective breeding was having enormous effects on domestic plant species long before we could go right into their DNA. Creating things that could never evolve in a humanless wild environment, and could not survive outside of domesticity today. There's little evidence that this is an inherently bad thing - in fact, I'm currently reading a book that posits that domestication of plant and animal species was actually an evolutionary step to symbiosis that benefitted the plants and animals more than the humans initially, though now it benefits both equally. And certainly, domesticated species seem to have a huge evolutionary advantage over their rapidly-dwindling wild relatives thanks to their symbiotic relationship with humans.

    Most of the arguments I've heard against GM are based on the idea that it's just a creepy and icky thing to think about. Personally, I also think that eating bugs is creepy and icky to think about, but people do that all over the world.

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