Scientists find 4 new ozone-destroying chemicals in atmosphere

Four new man-made gases are helping deplete the ozone layer, researchers from the University of East Anglia, in England, claim in a new study — the details of which were recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“Our research has shown four gases that were not around in the atmosphere at all until the 1960s which suggests they are man-made,” lead researcher Dr. Johannes said in a news release.

The four gasses are chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases, which were invented in 1920s for use in refrigeration and aerosol sprays. These types of gases have been banned globally since 2010, and regulated since the 1980s, but loopholes still exist.

“CFCs are the main cause of the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica,” the researchers write.

Scientists say they’re unsure of where these new gases are coming from. “Possible sources include feedstock chemicals for insecticide production and solvents for cleaning electronic components,” the study’s authors surmise.

The study claims the new chemicals break down very slowly, so even if emissions are curbed, these gases are likely to stick around in Earth’s atmosphere — eating at the ozone — for several decades.

The ozone layer sits in the lower portion of the stratosphere, some 12 to 19 miles above Earth’s surface, and blocks roughly 97 percent of all the sun’s ultra violent rays — rays that could otherwise prove biologically harmful for animal and plant life.

Not so’s you’d notice if you’re making money from their production or use. Of course.

Unprecedented ozone depletion over Arctic this spring

The depletion of the ozone layer shielding Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays has reached an unprecedented low over the Arctic this spring because of harmful chemicals and a cold winter…

The Earth’s fragile ozone layer in the Arctic region has suffered a loss of about 40 per cent from the start of winter until late March, exceeding the previous seasonal loss of about 30 per cent, the World Meteorological Organization said.

The Geneva-based agency blamed the loss on a buildup of ozone-eating chemicals once widely used as coolants and fire retardants in a variety of appliances and on very cold temperatures in the stratosphere, the second major layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, just above the troposphere…

This year the Arctic winter was warmer than average at ground level, but colder in the stratosphere than normal Arctic winters. U.N. officials say the latest losses — unprecedented, but not entirely unexpected — were detected in observations from the ground and from balloons and satellites over the Arctic…

The loss comes despite the U.N. ozone treaty, known as the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which has resulted in cutbacks in ozone-damaging chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons, halons and other, that were used in the making of refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and even hairspray.

The 196-nation ozone treaty encourages industries to use replacement chemicals less damaging to ozone, the atmospheric layer that helps protect against the sun’s most harmful rays.

But because these compounds have long atmospheric lifetimes, it takes decades for their concentrations to subside to pre-1980 levels as was agreed in the Montreal Protocol.

U.N. officials project the ozone layer outside the polar regions will recover to pre-1980 levels sometime between 2030 and 2040.

I hope the skeptics dedicated to denial of any human-caused climate or meteorological change spend more time sunbathing. Especially in northern latitudes. They should get what they deserve.

What involvement I maintain with the automotive world and transport technology, means I still get to hear the recurrent whine about inefficiencies in the air conditioning of their vehicles because CFCs aren’t legally available anymore.

The values and priorities of self-centered pundits and science denialists never ceases to amaze.

Ozone recovering but will take longer over poles

The ozone layer that shields life from the sun’s harmful rays is projected to recover from harmful chemicals by mid-century, but it will take longer over the polar regions, a United Nations study said today.

Ozone depletion — blamed for higher ultraviolet radiation that causes skin cancers and cataracts and damages agriculture — will continue for decades as several key damaging substances stay in the atmosphere for a long time after emissions end.

While many cooling agents or other compounds harmful to the ozone are no longer being produced or emitted, some of their industrial replacements are greenhouses gases that contribute much more to global warming, the report said.

“The ozone has bottomed out. It is no longer really decreasing. But there is also no real sign yet of an increase in ozone,” Geir Braathen, senior scientific officer at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), told a news briefing.

“We still believe that the ozone layer, at least in mid-latitudes, will be repaired by around 2050,” he said.

The ozone hole which forms over the Antarctic every springtime is only expected to return to the pre-1980 benchmark values in the late 21st century, the report said. High levels of ultraviolet rays are detected when it is large…

While chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) once used in refrigerators, spray cans and other appliances have been phased out, demand for substitutes such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) has risen, according to the study by the WMO and the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP)…

The report by 300 scientists credited the 1987 Montreal Protocol signed by some 200 countries with stopping additional ozone loss and helping to mitigate the greenhouse effect.

Between whining auto mechanics and whining HVAC contractors, you would have thought the world was coming to an end in 1987.

They moved on to substitutes and the real cheapskates went to Mexico to bootleg their preferred poison.

Nitrous Oxide now #1 ozone-depleting emission

Do you think scientists aren’t “Enemies of the State” anymore? 🙂

Nitrous oxide has now become the largest ozone-depleting substance emitted through human activities, and is expected to remain the largest throughout the 21st century, NOAA scientists say in a new study.

For the first time, this study has evaluated nitrous oxide emissions from human activities in terms of their potential impact on Earth’s ozone layer. As chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have been phased out by international agreement, ebb in the atmosphere, nitrous oxide will remain a significant ozone-destroyer, the study found. Today, nitrous oxide emissions from human activities are more than twice as high as the next leading ozone-depleting gas.

Nitrous oxide is emitted from natural sources and as a byproduct of agricultural fertilization and other industrial processes. Calculating the effect on the ozone layer now and in the future, NOAA researchers found that emissions of nitrous oxide from human activities erode the ozone layer and will continue to do so for many decades.

The study…appears online in the journal Science [subscription]…

Though the role of nitrous oxide in ozone depletion has been known for several decades, the new study is the first to explicitly calculate that role using the same measures that have been applied to CFCs, halons and other chlorine- and bromine-containing ozone-depleting substances…

Nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas, so reducing its emission from manmade sources would be good for both the ozone layer and climate, the scientists said.

I’ll look around for someone hosting the whole report for free. You may do the same. I’d love to read the details of the study.

Meanwhile, be prepared, of course, for a new wave of “skeptics” who will further display the atrophy of their brains with wit and humor, lies and deceit – over nitrous oxide. Since they never felt CFC’s were a concern either.