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NASA Announces Record Ozone Hole 190

Posted by Zonk
from the we-need-a-really-big-patch dept.
Drewsk writes "NASA has announced that the ozone hole over the Antarctic has broken all records. From the story: 'From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles,' said Paul Newman, atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. If the stratospheric weather conditions had been normal, the ozone hole would be expected to reach a size of about 8.9 to 9.3 million square miles, about the surface area of North America.""
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NASA Announces Record Ozone Hole

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  • I read about this (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vought (160908)
    four days ago.

    Besides all the technical trinkets, is this where science ends up on Slashdot?

    Pretty sad, if you ask me - game consoles and .mp3 players get higher billing than planetary changes - on the planet we live on?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tehSpork (1000190)
      Meh, MP3 players and consoles come and go with a rapid speed that requires many news posts to keep track of. I haven't seen a Planet 2.0 with new and improved mineral deposits slated for release yet, my guess is that the project went overbudget and got cancled. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Pretty sad, if you ask me - game consoles and .mp3 players get higher billing than planetary changes - on the planet we live on?


      It's because these global warming news are super depressing, anti-american, pro-terrorism and bad for the economy. We should collectively hush-hush these fairy-tales of evident destruction of human kind and just live in four year periods. Now, go back reading console news and smile. Remember - ignorance is strength!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 21, 2006 @01:36AM (#16526263)
      I for one, am looking forward to our improved sun tanning opportunities. UV kills parasites too. It's win-win here. Ozone layers are over-rated.
    • Why didn't you contribute this article 4 days ago, then?
    • by CoderDevo (30602)
      I read about this four days ago.

      Pretty impressive, considering NASA's original press release came out just 36 hours before this submission was accepted by a ./ editor as fiting the criteria of news for nerds. All of the other news sites reporting this story are referencing that same press release.

      Where on the 17th did you read about this?

  • Sometimes... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Sometimes I wonder whether or not the ozone hole has always been there and we just noticed the hole one day and thought it was something special. I mean, the Earth is slightly egg shaped, doesn't it kind of make sense for the atmosphere to also not be spherical?
  • by Warbringer87 (969664) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @01:05AM (#16526125)
    Doesn't that usually happen when you fuck with a hole?
    • by davidsyes (765062)
      Well, don't some holes close up from overstacked detritus near the opening? Or is something pushing up from the bottom or inside? (I don't know if "holey moley" or "holy shit" applies here...)
  • by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @01:10AM (#16526153) Homepage
    said Paul Newman, atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

    Is nothing enough for Paul Newman? It's not enough that he stars in movies with Robert Redford, or that I'm forced to by his Salad Dressings and Microwave Pop-Corn... now I must apparently take his word on the o-zone layer. I suppose in 20 years he'll show up in a computer animated film as some sort of washed-up radio telescope convinced to go for one more shot at the big time.

    /end sarcasm sequencer
  • Hmm.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lars512 (957723) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @02:08AM (#16526381)
    ...increased cancer for us Australians this year. Not to worry though, in 60 years, whatever skin we have left on our face and arms after the melanomas have been removed will be safe(r).
  • by the_tsi (19767) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @03:15AM (#16526609)
    "NASA Announces Record Ozone Hole"

    - Yes, but will it be available in retail before the holiday shopping season? What will availability be?

    - Can it run Lunix? Duke Nukem 4? NetBSD? Can I make a beowulf out of them?

    - Shouldn't we wait for Rev. B?

    - Why didn't they mention any pricing in the article? It's totally a vaporware mock-up, like that keyboard!

    - Did they use clean energy to manufacture it?

    - Isn't the one from RKA/ESA/JAXA superior? NASA only makes hoaxes anyway -- Was this "ozone hole" actually on a sound stage in Nevada?
  • Do you ever wonder where all the farts go? They go into the atmosphere and form the Fart Zone. It's just above the ozone layer. This is why we MUST PROTECT THE OZONE LAYER.

    If anything happened to ozone layer, all those farts would fall back to earth. And NOT on their original owners.
  • Way to go! break out the champagne.

    Oh....wait.....

    It's not a good thing?
  • Statistics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by agentcdog (885108) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @04:32AM (#16526835)
    I am a scientist trained at the undergraduate level (so I claim no authority). They beat statistics into us. I now read things with my statistical-skeptic hat on. Here's my problem: .2% decline only matters if there is a margin of error that is small enough for .2% to be significant. Let us say, for argument's sake, that the error in our readings is around 3%. We then model the system and have check it against the data that we have. Is there any way for us to have enough data to make the statement that we expect a .2% improvement? Statistics come with confidences. I'd be shocked if the confidence level on this data is above 50%. Does anyone have any insight here?
    • I wonder if any one inputed the effect all mcdonalds/burgerking chain stores have on the hole, re with all
      that beef thats needed, and how much shit those cows make and how much they fart methane!!!

      Did you add 600 billion cubic meters of methane!?!?!?!?!?!?

      Cows are bad choice for food, they take a long time to grow, eat heaps, pollute the air. Require massive
      amounts of land. They are UDDER Crap!

      On a per tonne of wate and acre statistic, INSECTS provide way more protein than cows, if people got over
      the fact o
    • by eh2o (471262)
      First of all there is no a priori reason to assume any particular margin of error, since error is data-dependent. Scientific instruments often produce lots of data with good tolerances.

      In this case we are observing the *same* ozone hole multiple times so the statistic to use is the repeated measures T-test or "paired" T-test. A paired T-test is a statistic on the derivative between dependent observations (e.g. site specific). It is possible to conclude with normal confidence bounds that the derivative is
    • I take it you're referring to this statement:


      As a result of this slow decline, the ozone hole is estimated to annually very slowly decrease in area by about 0.1 to 0.2 percent for the next five to 10 years. This slow decrease is masked by large year-to-year variations caused by Antarctic stratosphere weather fluctuations.

      That sounds to me like this is an estimate predicted from a model, not actual measurements. Also, the problem here isn't the margin of error for measurement, it's the variability. The a

  • NASA has announced that the ozone hole over the Antarctic has broken all records.


    I think congratulations are in place, that's quite an achievement. Guinness' Book will now be such a bore though.
  • Finally! (Score:2, Funny)

    by SilentOneNCW (943611)
    Alright everyone, our goal has been achieved. Take a little break and we'll meet back here for more ozone depletion in a few aeons, mm'kay?
  • Re: Ozone Hole (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 21, 2006 @06:43AM (#16527323)
    I don't think the severity of the Ozone hole, regardless of its fundermental underlying causes, can really be accepted or apprecciated by any-one living in the Northern Hemisphere. Its appears to be something akin to "Ah well, that sound bads, nevermind" BUT .. Anyone living in Australia or especially New Zealand, the coutries on the edge of the hole, know too well what it will mean for them this summer...and it not pretty.

    With the highest rates of melanoma skin cancer in the world due to the lack of UV protecting Ozone and predominantly clean air. These two countries bear the full brunt of the impact of the hole. At the height of summer, sunburn can occur in as little as 6 minutes!! of sun exposur. Anyone outside without SPF30+ sunscreen, glasses, a shirt and a hat should be considered a fool. This is what its like to live with a hole in the Ozone above your country.

    If this is what is was like above your country in summer, when you would just like to enjoy yourself and "Catch some rays, down at the beach". You certainly wouldn't be arguing about how it was cause or who caused it, you'rd be trying to find a way to fix it!

    Sometimes, I wish the hole could be moved to somewhere move deserving.
    • by Xyrus (755017)
      However, in a few generations the populations of those countries will become resistant to UV radiation. Which means if the whole spreads, everyone else dies except for the southern countries.

      I, for one, welcome our new Kiwi, Lord of the Ring loving overlords.

      ~X~
      • by Angostura (703910)
        You don't really understand natural selection, do you? Or are you really expecting massive fatalities among non-restant people sufficient to stop them breeding?
        • by Xyrus (755017)
          Um, actually I was expecting people to take it as a JOKE. If you're not familiar with the concept of humor though, you can google it. You may also want to investigate the related concept of comedy.

          I would include links, but this comment doesn't deserve to be modded up.

          ~X~
          • by oc255 (218044)
            I thought you were serious, so I guess it's not funny. Maybe "in a few generations they become glowing super-human sun-resistant mutants" would have be better. At least it's obviously exaggerated for Internet interpretation.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Do you own a fridge? Have an AC. Have a car with an AC?
      Just who do you think is more deserving of this?
      Australia is a modern society that used CFCs for years.

      Yes it sucks that it effects you but you are no more or less deserving than any other nation.

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @08:16AM (#16527685) Journal
    Here's a brief explanation:

    CFCs need to leech from the troposphere to the stratosphere. The troposphere is very easy to travel through, as temperatures decreases as you approach the stratosphere. This allows for the warmer air near ground level to rise to the top of the troposphere, where it cools and sinks back to the ground (which then warms again, etc). This makes sure that pollutants such as CFCs travel very well throughout the troposphere.

    However, the stratosphere warms as you go higher. The cooler air down below sinks back into the troposphere, making it hard for pollutants to enter it. The stratosphere is where the ozone is. The only way for the gas to get into the stratosphere is to diffuse very slowly into it, where it can do its damage.

    This is why there is such a big hole now. Diffusion into the stratosphere takes many years. Scientists have predicted a peak in CFC levels in the stratosphere around about now. Slowly, all the CFCs we've produced will diffuse, react to become relatively harmless free radicals, and the ozone layer will be restored. Until then, sit tight.
  • It was only five months ago that we were being told: Ozone Layer Improving Faster Than Expected [slashdot.org].
  • by maynard (3337) <j,maynard,gelinas&gmail,com> on Saturday October 21, 2006 @09:35AM (#16528075) Journal
    link [slashdot.org]

    It contains contextual information about what is ozone, who the main players are / were that contributed to the ozone cycle discovery, who first discovered the Antarctic ozone hole, and why it is believed that it will begin to shrink in the near future (decades).

    Hope it is of interest.
  • Ozone "Hole" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thethibs (882667) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @01:46PM (#16529935) Homepage

    It's not a hole—it's a depression.

    Ozone concentration increases smoothly going from the poles to the equator. It's never zero.

    The size of the so-called Ozone Hole isn't a discovery, it's a decision. Pick a threshold value and everything below that value is your "hole"—pick one value and you have a big hole, pick another and it's tiny. Different scientists at different times have used different threshold values, so it's hard to believe any comparison without checking the raw data to make sure they are comparing apples to apples.

    Using thresholds destroys interesting information. There's a real difference between a big shallow depression and a big deep depression. The total extent of the "hole" could be just a bit below the arbitrarily chosen threshold, so that a tiny change in the threshold would result in a very tiny "hole". Gotta see the data.

  • The increased hole size is caused by BELOW AVERAGE temperatures in Antarctica.

    From TFA:
    The temperature of the Antarctic stratosphere causes the severity of the ozone hole to vary from year to year. Colder than average temperatures result in larger and deeper ozone holes, while warmer temperatures lead to smaller ones. ... The temperature readings from NOAA satellites and balloons during late-September 2006 showed the lower stratosphere at the rim of Antarctica was approximately nine degrees Fahrenheit col

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