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Summer Thunderstorms Could Be Punching New Holes in Ozone Layer

The global environmentalist community had assumed that restrictions on ozone-depleting chemicals, starting with the 1987 Montreal Protocol, had protected the Earth’s atmosphere. But a study suggests that huge storms, similar to what the US and other countries have been experiencing in recent months, could also contribute to destruction of the ozone layer. Higher temperatures combined with water vapor help deliver ozone-depleting chemicals to the stratosphere, allowing entry of additional ultraviolet light. Climate change is not limited to warming, according to the study’s lead author James Anderson of Harvard, as reported by Pete Spotts for the Christian Science Monitor. Thunderstorms, more severe with increasing greenhouse emissions, can loft water vapor up to four miles into the stratosphere: “In essence, the team found that thunderstorms and their powerful, convective updrafts drive unexpectedly large concentrations of water vapor high into the stratosphere,” Spotts reports. “The high concentrations of water vapor alter conditions in ways that encourage ozone destruction when the man-made chemicals associated with ozone depletion are present.” Ozone depletion, which influences temperatures, could become one of many alarming, irreversible feedbacks of climate change. – YaleGlobal

Summer Thunderstorms Could Be Punching New Holes in Ozone Layer

Harvard study looking at conditions in the lower stratosphere, where the ozone layer resides, suggests a link between climate change and amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth's surface
Pete Spotts
The Christian Science Monitor, 27 July 2012
Click here for the article in The Christian Science Monitor.

Pete Spotts is staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor.

Source:The Christian Science Monitor
Rights:© The Christian Science Monitor. All Rights Reserved.