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Ozone levels across Northern Hemisphere have been rising for 20 years

Ozone levels across Northern Hemisphere have been rising for 20 years

Science
Aug. 21 (UPI) -- While emission levels for ozone-forming chemicals have fallen in some North American cities, new research suggests tropospheric ozone levels have increased across the Northern Hemisphere over the last 20 years. In the upper layers of the atmosphere, the ozone layer helps protect Earth and its inhabitants from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Advertisement But closer to Earth's surface, ozone causes problems. In addition to accelerating climate change, the greenhouse gas can harm people's lungs and damage plants. "Ozone is a secondary gas, which means that it is not directly emitted," lead researcher Audrey Gaudel, a scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, told UPI in an email. "It is formed photochemica...
Record ozone hole disappears over the Arctic

Record ozone hole disappears over the Arctic

Technology
The largest ever hole that has been detected in the ozone layer over the Arctic has closed just weeks after its sudden formation.It reached its peak size in March, and, according to scientists working at the Copernicus' Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), the hole wasn't man-made. Instead it was the result of a particularly strong polar vortex over the Arctic. It also isn't tied to a reduction in pollution associated with the coronavirus lockdown."COVID-19 and the associate lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this," the researchers said, explaining it had no relation to changes in air quality. ...
Healing the ozone layer helped slow global warming

Healing the ozone layer helped slow global warming

Science
Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The hole in the ozone layer isn't yet gone, but it's been slowly shrinking for the last few decades, mostly thanks to the Montreal Protocol, passed in 1987, which helped phase out the use of ozone-eating chlorofluorocarbons around the world. New research suggests the Montreal Protocol also helped slow global warming. Chlorofluorocarbons, a class of chemicals that destroy the ozone layer, are also greenhouse gases. For the new study, published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters, scientists calculated the amount of warming that was prevented by slowing the release of CFCs into Earth's atmosphere. The analysis showed that by mid-century, Earth will be at least 1 degree Celsius cooler than it would have been without the Montreal Protocol. "By mass CFCs ar...
Warm air shrinks ozone hole to smallest size on record

Warm air shrinks ozone hole to smallest size on record

Science
Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The ozone hole is the smallest its been since scientists first began monitoring the human-caused phenomenon in 1982. After reaching an annual maximum measuring 6.3 million square miles in early September, the smallest maximum ever, the ozone hole quickly shrank. By early October, the ozone hole measured 3.9 million square miles. Scientists expect the hole to continue to dissipate in the coming weeks before closing completely -- for now. In a pair of news releases published Monday, scientists at NASA and NOAA confirmed that the ozone hole was the smallest in recorded history. Weather systems near the South Pole triggered an influx of warm air into the stratosphere during September and October, curbing the depletion of ozone gas. Similar climate patterns produced unusually...
Scientists accidentally designed an incredibly accurate ozone detector

Scientists accidentally designed an incredibly accurate ozone detector

Science
April 30 (UPI) -- Researchers originally designed the ROZE instrument to detect hydroxyl, which rids the atmosphere of methane. But tests showed the instrument was surprisingly good at measuring ambient levels of ozone -- better than the best available commercial ozone detectors. "When we started this development effort, ozone was the farthest thing from our minds," NASA research scientist Tom Hanisco said in a news release. In his attempts to track hydroxyl levels, Hanisco deployed a technique known as gas filter correlation spectroscopy, which works by filtering out the wavelengths that interact with -- or, are absorbed by -- hydroxyl. An air leak in the device's cavity, which scientists intended to fill with hydroxyl, caused technical difficulties. Instead of producing hydroxyl, the i...