Arctic ozone hole breaks all records


08/10/2011

In the first three months of this year in the skies over the Arctic was something unprecedented. There was a big hole in the ozone layer, which is greater than the size of all I have seen before.

The Arctic ozone layer is eroded every winter, but this effect is usually short-lived. "This time it’s serious," - said Neil Harriz from Cambridge University. When the sources of the data among the researchers broke discussion, whether the loss is comparable to what can be observed over Antarctica. "This issue comes up for discussion for the first time," - said Harris.

At an altitude of 18-20 km, disappeared more than 80 percent of ozone. "The loss in 2011 more than double what it was possible to observe in the record Arctic winter 1996 and 2005," - said Nathaniel Livesey of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

This hole is comparable to what can be observed in the Antarctic in 1980. The Antarctic hole has been growing ever since without ceasing, and to date has increased considerably in size.

Meteorologists are struggling with the question of the reasons for such a sharp acceleration of growth and trying to predict its future behavior. Livesey with a colleague, Michel Santi, said that the hole was formed due to the fact that the stratosphere remained cold for a few months longer than usual. Cold air is condensed steam and nitric acid in polar stratospheric clouds, which catalyze the conversion of chlorine in its reactive form ozone depleting.

It is unknown what was the reason that the atmosphere remained cold for so long. "In the study of this will take years," - said Santi.

The responsibility for this can be partially attributable to climate change. This may seem strange, but global warming increases the temperature only in the lower layers of the atmosphere. "Global climate change warms the surface, but cooled the stratosphere" - said Harris.

Original: Newscientist


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