Monday, February 8, 2010

Ozone Hole Healing

The claims made in this article regarding the impact on aerosols and climate change is at best galloping speculation whose testability is doubtful.  It is tortured and should be tossed on the table with all those other maybes out there awaiting convincing support from Mother Nature.  You do not forget these things; however, I would sooner chase gold mines.


Of more importance, it is good to see the ozone layer shrink.  This continues to confirm the CFC hypothesis of causation and plausibly supports the decision made a generation ago to take Freon out of the industrial system.  From that perspective this is good news.  We do not have to return to the drawing board on this one at least.


Folks forget that it took a leap of faith to link Freon directly to the ozone hole.  They may still be wrong.  And eliminating Freon is no bad thing.

My biggest doubt with the theory itself was that it was based on a lack of historical data.  Ozone holes may be decadal phenomena going on forever and we would simply not know.  So on short term data we got rid of Freon, hoping we were right.


Our more recent climate activists forget that CO2 is not Freon.  CO2 is an integral component of global biome and is used by everything.  We even know that the optimum for atmospheric concentration is around 1000 ppm, over twice present levels.  We have a long ways to go and the industrial carbon age may optimistically add another 100 ppm before it runs its course.


Presuming we then terraform the Earth properly converting deserts and dry lands into productive woodlands and the like we will consume all that carbon and then some.  I can see the day when it is felt wise to ignite coal fires and to stimulate hydrate release in order to maintain better CO2 levels.


Ozone hole healing could cause further climate warming


Jan 27, 2010

The hole in the ozone layer is now steadily closing, but its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere, according to scientists at the University of Leeds.
The Antarctic ozone hole was once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats, but the discovery of a previously undiscovered feedback shows that it has instead helped to shield this region from carbon-induced warming over the past two decades.
High-speed winds in the area beneath the hole have led to the formation of brighter summertime clouds, which reflect more of the sun's powerful rays.
"These clouds have acted like a mirror to the sun's rays, reflecting the sun's heat away from the surface to the extent that warming from rising carbon emissions has effectively been cancelled out in this region during the summertime," said Professor Ken Carslaw of the University of Leeds, who co-authored the research.
"If, as seems likely, these winds die down, rising CO2 emissions could then cause the warming of the southern hemisphere to accelerate, which would have an impact on future climate predictions," he added.

The key to this newly-discovered feedback is aerosol – tiny reflective particles suspended within the air that are known by experts to have a huge impact on climate.
Greenhouses gases absorb infrared radiation from the Earth and release it back into the atmosphere as heat, causing the planet to warm up over time. Aerosol works against this by reflecting heat from the sun back into space, cooling the planet as it does so.
Beneath the Antarctic ozone hole, high-speed winds whip up large amounts of sea spray, which contains millions of tiny salt particles. This spray then forms droplets and eventually clouds, and the increased spray over the last two decades has made these clouds brighter and more reflective.
As the ozone layer recovers it is believed that this feedback mechanism could decline in effectiveness, or even be reversed, leading to accelerated warming in the southern hemisphere.
"Our research highlights the value of today's state-of-the-art models and long-term datasets that enable such unexpected and complex climate feedbacks to be detected and accounted for in our future predictions," added Professor Carslaw.
The Leeds team made their prediction using a state-of-the-art global model of aerosols and two decades of meteorological data. The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council's Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study (UK SOLAS) and the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence Programme.

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