Ozone-Depleting Chemicals use should strictly be reduced
Volcanos have been preventing human efforts to shrink the ozone hole drastically. Industrial chemicals called Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destroy ozone in the atmosphere. The use of such chemicals created a ‘hole’ in the ozone layer. In response, a global treaty signed in 1987 mandated gradual cuts to the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. Developed nations ceased using CFCs by 1996, although use continued in the developing nations.
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) the researchers used a climate model to examine the effects of volcanic particles on atmospheric chemistry. Between 1980 and 1998, when CFCs were still in use and eroding the ozone layer, eruptions such as 1991 explosion of Mount Pinnatubo in the Philippines increases the ozone loss. After 2000, although CFC use was ceased, eruptions slowed down the recovery of the ozone hole.
The CFC ban, which has been very successful, will yield the greatest benefits in periods of volcanic inactivity according to the scientists. NASA announced that the hole in the Earth’s ozone is the smallest and it’s been for the last 29 years though not because of toxic emissions have gone down, the ozone hole has formed over Antartica measured 7.6 million square miles at its maximum peak and is as small as it’s been since 1988. Ozone molecules shield the Earth from Sun’s UV rays but are being depleted by man-made chemicals like Bromine and Chlorine that is released into the atmosphere. The Ozone hole has been growing larger over the years measuring more than 11 million square miles at its highest. Usually, Ozone declines more quickly in low temperatures and in the presence of polar stratospheric clouds the Ozone eating chemical reactions get encouraged. While the small ozone depletion resulted mostly from natural causes, research study claims the banning of ozone-eating chemicals in a 1987 International Treaty may have also contributed.
According to the study published in Geoscience claims that Pollution from China ruins US effort to cut ozone levels on the West Coast. From 2005-2010, the US managed to cut ozone producing Nitrous oxide emissions by 20% by imposing strict standards for Motor vehicles and industry. During the same period of time, however, China’s growth pushed its own ozone levels by about 7% half of the increase in China came from the ground up while the other half descended from the stratosphere. Although some of the pollutions may have blown to China from India and other parts of Asia in the same way that the dominant westerly winds blow China’s air pollution into the stratosphere straight across the Pacific Ocean and into the United States causing ozone levels to rise again. High levels of ozone can cause respiratory problems, damage to crops, and of course, global warming.
According to researchers, local and national efforts to fight pollution could have a limited impact if a problem is not also dealt with at an International level. Production of chemicals is hurting the ozone layer, banned chemicals are being used somewhere in the world again and the ozone layer gets damaged. As a result, new research has been published and the findings claim the deposits somewhere in East Asia are producing the banned ozone-depleting chemicals CFC11. According to the BBC report, the CFC11 was used in the 1930s as a refrigerant, could also be found in solvents and aerosols but its use came at a devastating cost along with now other banned chemicals, its use left a massive hole in the ozone layer. Scientists say the continued production of the chemical may slow the recovery of the ozone. Researchers concluded that unreported new production is behind the continued presence of these chemicals. It will eventually leave the ozone and thereby, all 7 billion earthlings exposed to new threats.
Could Geo-engineering help save the planet? With global warming causing heat waves and rising sea levels, potentially bringing about more devastating consequences scientists are turning into climate engineering solutions to keep temperatures down. Geo-engineering has two approaches to cool the planet; carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management. Taking the direct air capture, approached by a Swiss company, which uses several collectors to suck in the air that contains carbon dioxide, which is then filtered and accumulated while other air particles are released to the atmosphere. A separate Harvard project, meanwhile, is working on dimming sunlight by releasing limestone particles using a high-altitude balloon and then observes its effect on the stratosphere. This limestone spray supposedly reflects solar radiation and slows the greenhouse gas warming, also neutralizes the acids destroying the ozone and helps to restore the protective layer. Another technique aims to cool the seeds and prevent coral breaching by spraying salt generated from salt water to create more reflective clouds. Critics of Geo-engineering warn such solutions as to be the temporary fix and run the risk of more damage in the long run. It is definitely, a radical step from reducing carbon emissions which many believe the more effective way to curb global warming.