August 23, 2016
Is the Antarctic Ozone Hole Really Mending?
The AOH is an ephemeral (every Oct-Nov) thinning of stratospheric ozone at an altitude of 20-25 km, roughly covering the Antarctic continent; unanticipated, it was discovered serendipitously in 1985 but is now tracked with satellite-borne ozone meters. Its discovery created much panic about an epidemic of skin cancers that led directly to passage of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international treaty stopping the manufacture and release into the atmosphere of ozone-depleting chemicals, including CFCs used in refrigeration and bromine-containing fire suppressants. Recently, there have been many voices, suggesting that the AOH is shrinking, presumably as a result of the Protocol. I am somewhat skeptical of the evidence, but also for theoretical reasons. I am inclined to blame wishful thinking –- a desire to justify post facto the 1987 Montreal Protocol and the economic losses it has produced around the world since then. By implication also, this tends to...(Read Full Article)