Canadian scientist claims to have found a huge ozone hole over the tropics | Globalnews.ca

A Canadian scientist says he has discovered a huge hole in the ozone layer over the planet’s tropical region that could affect 50 percent of the world’s population.

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Qing-Bin Lu, a professor at the University of Waterloo, says the hole is seven times larger than the known Antarctic ozone hole that emerges during the spring. The findings were published in the journal AIP Advances.

Through his research, Lu claims that he discovered that the gaping hole is present all year and has been there since the 1980s, roughly 40 years.

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“The tropics make up half of the planet’s surface and are home to roughly half of the world’s population,” Lu said in a press release. “The existence of the tropical ozone hole may cause great global concern.

The tropics are regions of the Earth. in the middle of the globeincluding the equator and parts of North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

“Ozone layer depletion can lead to increased UV radiation at ground level, which can increase the risk of skin cancer and cataracts in humans, as well as weaken the human immune system, decrease productivity agriculture and adversely affect sensitive aquatic organisms and ecosystems. ” he said.

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The ozone layer is a natural layer of gas in the Earth’s stratosphere, and it is crucial to sustaining life on Earth, protecting us and other life forms from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

The process of ozone formation and destruction is ongoing, but researchers in the 1970s discovered that certain industrial chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the agents in some aerosol sprays and refrigerants, among others, can accelerate degradation. This theory was supported by the confirmation of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1985.


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Governments at the time were quick to ban many of the harmful chemicals and last year the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported that the discontinued use of these chemicals was helping to heal the ozone layer.

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Lu and his team say they identified this latest hole by examining average annual ozone changes, differences in annual ozone climatology, and temperature changes over the past several decades, but their findings surprised other scientists whose conventional photochemical models did not. they made. not show the big gap.

This new discovery, if true, negates much of what science has learned about ozone holes.

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Multiple researchers have disputed the study, saying Lu’s methods were flawed.

Paul Young, a researcher at Lancaster University and lead author of the latest scientific assessment of ozone depletion (who was not involved in the study) told the Science Media Center that Lu analyzed percentage changes in ozone rather than absolute changes.


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“There is no ‘tropical ozone hole,’ driven by the electrons proposed by the author of cosmic rays or otherwise. It is well understood that the long-term changes and year-to-year variability of the ozone layer in the lower tropical stratosphere are the result of both human-driven processes and natural drivers,” said Young.

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“The author’s identification of a ‘tropical ozone hole’ is because he sees percentage changes in ozone, rather than absolute changes, the latter being much more relevant to harmful UV rays reaching the surface. Interestingly, his article is also not based on the vast literature that explores and documents ozone trends in all regions of the atmosphere.”

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Martyn Chipperfield, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Leeds, told Science Media Center that he was “surprised that this study was published at all in its present form.”

“The results of this work will be very controversial and I am not convinced they are correct.,” he said. “The claim in this research of such large ozone changes in the tropics has not been evident in other studies, which makes me very suspicious. Science should never depend on a single study and this new work needs a careful verification before it can be accepted as fact.

The study builds on previous work by Lu and colleagues on a theory of ozone depletion. The group has been studying the mechanism of ozone depletion (CRE) initiated by a cosmic ray-driven reaction of electrons for about two decades.

“The present discovery requires further careful study of ozone depletion, change in ultraviolet radiation, increased cancer risks and other negative effects on health and ecosystems in tropical regions,” Lu said.

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