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Update on Ozone Hole

25 November 2023
Electromagnetism, Environmentalism

At https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/11/231120170922.htm … It seems the Hunga Tonga Ha’apai submarine volcano played a role in the loss of ozone over the Antarctic. It changed the chemistry and dynamics of the stratosphere – pumping large amounts of water vapour into the upper atmosphere. However, that happened in 2022 but ozone hole goes back 4 years according to the post a couple of days ago. Not sure if this occurred in the northern hemisphere as the ozone debate has been fairly quiescent in recent years. Would anyone have drawn attention to the return of the ozone hole?

The volcano, according to the PNAS article, badly affected the southern hemisphere. It ejected 300 billion pounds of water vapour into the stratosphere – which is where the ozone layer sits. Water vapour in the atmosphere increased by around 10 per cent [a little less actually]. More importantly, it changed the chemistry of the  stratosphere – which is normally dryish. Sulfate aerosols appeared, for example. However, the authors also noted that although there was a decrease in ozone at the poles there was also an increase in ozone over the tropics. This appears to mimic the behaviour of CMEs – which are said to disperse ozone from the poles and shift it to temperate and tropicle regions. Later, the ozone moves back over the poles. It will be interesting to see what happens in this case as the peak decrease in ozone over the Antarctic was in October of 2022. They have yet to process data from 2023 – which is the next step. I looked at the archive at https://spaceweather.com … and while M Class flares were fairly common there were no big X Class flares. There was however a leakage of the solar wind that occrs every Halloweenn. A crack in the earth’s shield is blamed – but it may have something to do with earth’s rotation around the Sun. Presumably, this might have led to enhanced ozone depletion – but is conjecural. It is best to think in terms of both the volcano and water vapour changes to the chemistry of the stratosphere, in conjuntion with a lot of solar activity, may be at fault.

One could blame the volcano for all the rain we have had over the last couple of months, here in NW Europe. However, excessive rain over long periods is not something particularly unusual in our part of the world. There is an old adage though – what goes up must come down. If all that water went up it has to come down – somewhere. In fact, we have a British legend concerning a giant. He came too close to our part of the world and caused a terrible drought. It became so hot all the vegetation withered and died. The giant, when this was pointed out to him, was so remorseful he began to cry. His tears kept flowing for days and weeks and in no time the land was saturated and floods became a common occurrence. A variation on an old theme. If a close passage of a space rock, or another phenomenon such as the jet stream stuck in a groove, had occurred, evaporation would have caused a lot of water vapour to rise into the atmosphere. After the problem had passed it would have come down again – hence, the tears. Torrential rain.

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