Ozone hole shrinking, NASA announces

NASA recently announced that evidence indicates that the planet's ozone hole over Antarctica is closing and now the smallest it's been since it was discovered three decades ago.  By 1990, the ozone hole had enlarged to 8 million square miles (twice the size of the USA).  The cause of this opening has been blamed on chlorofluorocarbons, which most countries outlawed.  The shrinking hole should be significantly reduced and stable by 2040–50 and eliminated by 2100.

Sounds as though the climate change (or global warming) enthusiasts have to adjust their strategy for arousing fear among the industrialized nations regarding potential planetary damage from human behavior.  It now appears that the polar bear population is stable.  Climate change advocates now must deal with this good news, which messes up some of the scare tactics they have employed for several decades.

However, this good news was delivered with a negative caveat.  For three decades, we have been told that the ozone hole was a threat to the planet and life, as it allows more solar radiation (UV) through to the Earth's ground.  This will increase the risk of DNA mutations, they argue.  Ozone is a multiple oxygen molecule that also is a greenhouse gas.  Therefore, it can raise the heat retained in the atmosphere.  The hole allows some heat to escape and helps cool the planet.  Though these amounts are small, they work against global warming.

The ozone hole is a misnomer, as it is actually a thinning of the ozone layer in the atmosphere.  When measurements of the layer are thinner than 220 Dobson units, then this threshold is called a hole.  Measurements show that the thin layer of ozone over the South Pole is getting thicker, which is welcome news. 

Another factor in ozone damage is quite natural.  The impact of sulfur release from volcanoes is another source of ozone-depleting gases.  Also, methane is a source of greenhouse gases.  This is the rationale used by the hysteria crowd against beef, since cows belch methane.  Methane is also released naturally from the Artic permafrost as it warms.  Methane and carbon dioxide are released from deep ocean volcanic vents as well.

The issues related to Earth's climate are multi-factorial.  The position of the planet in its orbit (including the range), the axial position (precession), solar flares, action from tectonic plates (volcanism), and movement of the heat sink within the planet's oceans all contribute to the climate.  No doubt, human activity contributes to our climate.  However, the end of the ice age 10–12 thousand years ago had no human cause.  Likewise, the mini-ice ages of the fifth century, 14th century, and 17th century could not be blamed upon industrial activity.

Perhaps the building of homes and structures along the coastal ranges should be reconsidered.  But then this property is valuable and garners high property taxes, which growing governmental programs require.  Rising sea levels threaten this property, which the wealthy want protected.

Agricultural industry analysts wonder whether it is harder to manage farming in the present time.  They suspect that global warming related to the ozone layer changes may be an issue, according to the EPA.  It is no wonder that any good news would come with the caveat that this closing ozone hole must be bad for us. 

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