Ozone hole could be making global warming worse
It’s like Lord Voldemort joining forces with The Penguin.
Two of the globe’s most epic environmental threats appear to be ganging up on us: The hole in the ozone layer could be hastening global warming.
Yes, the hole in the ozone layer. It still exists, though it has been getting smaller because the world rightly panicked and began phasing out the use of CFCs in the 1980s. It was previously thought that the hole was helping to slow down global warming, but new research published in Geophysical Research Letters suggests the opposite. From Nature:
The team’s models predicted a shift in the southern-hemisphere jet stream — the high-altitude air currents flowing around Antarctica — as a result of ozone depletion. This produced a change in the cloud distribution, with clouds moving towards the South Pole, where they are less effective at reflecting solar radiation. …
The extra net energy absorbed by the Earth would be 0.25 watts per square metre, or roughly a tenth of the greenhouse effect attributed to CO2, [says Kevin Grise, the study’s lead author and an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University]. The result could be a small but non-negligible contribution to global temperature rise.
Get Grist in your inbox