Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Repairing ozone hole may actually harm Earth's climate systems: Science study news

For years, conventional wisdom has been that closing the hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic would solve many of mankind's weather problems, besides protecting species from harmful ultraviolet radiation. However, a recent study has turned that wisdom on its head by claiming such a move may actually be detrimental to earth and its inhabitants by heating up the freezing continent and thereby accelerating global warming.

The study led by scientists from Columbia University, and published in renowned scientific journal Science on 13 June, found that if the ozone hole were to recover in the next 50 years as predicted it would affect the flow of winds called the westerlies around Antarctica. This change in the direction of the winds might play havoc with the existing models of climate in the Southern Hemisphere.

The finding is in contrast to the observations made by the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which didn't include ozone recovery in its climate modelling

"Although the rest of the climate is warming up . . . there's been a cooling over the Antarctic plateau and a speeding up of the winds around the edge of the Antarctic," said University of Toronto professor Ted Shepherd, who co-authored the paper with scientists from the US, Switzerland and Japan.

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