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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

IS THE OZONE HOLE CAUSING CLIMATE CHANGE?
Yes and no. The ozone hole is basically a man-made hole in the ozone layer above the South Pole during the Southern Hemisphere’s spring. The ozone layer, which lies high up in the atmosphere, shields us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that come from the sun. Unfortunately we punched a hole in it, through the use of gases like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in spray cans and refrigerants, which break down ozone molecules in the upper atmosphere. While some of the sun’s UV rays slip through the hole, they account for less than one percent of the sun’s energy. So these UV rays cannot explain the global warming of the planet. What scientists have uncovered recently, however, is that the ozone hole has been affecting climate in the Southern Hemisphere. That’s because ozone is also a powerful greenhouse gas, and destroying it has made the stratosphere (the second layer of the atmosphere going upwards) over the Southern Hemisphere colder. The colder stratosphere has resulted in faster winds near the pole, which somewhat surprisingly can have impacts all the way to the equator, affecting tropical circulation and rainfall at lower latitudes. The ozone hole is not causing global warming, but it is affecting atmospheric circulation.
 

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