Climate Donkey

June 17, 2008

Ozone hole recovery and climate change: An “unholy” alliance

ozone hole

A recent Science Magazine article concerning the Southern Hemisphere (SH) Ozone hole has received little attention in the news media considering it mentions “global climate change”. One must assume that if the new research is not trumpeted in the mainstream media or on the left-wing alarmist blogs, then it must be contrary to the template/agenda/talking points assembled during the past few years. I believe we have an instance of research that introduces “uncertainty” into the “debate” which is toxic to the media.

A couple example headlines from a Google News search:

Mending ozone hold to create more climate change worries?

Ozone threat to India

Computer models show major climate shift as a result of closing ozone hole

So, even from the headlines, there is implied uncertainty. The official Science Magazine press release or news item titled UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES has some key quotes that are worth discussing.

Healing Antarctica’s ozone hole has a possible downside

Via a complicated cascade of effects, a full recovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica in the coming years could significantly boost warming of the atmosphere over and around the icy continent….In one sense, however, the ozone hole is somewhat beneficial: It has kept Antarctica cooler than it otherwise would have been, says Seok-Woo Son, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University.

So, the ozone hole was a Good Thing.

It turns out that of the IPCC AR4 climate models, 9 out of 19 did not include the impacts of stratospheric ozone recovery in the climate change simulations/scenarios. In this upper part of the atmosphere near Antarctica, as indicated by the Columbia scientist, greenhouse gas warming as been largely mitigated by the presence of the ozone hole through atmospheric circulation impacts. Through including a competent ozone chemistry scheme into their climate model ensemble, it was discovered that the ozone hole recovery will have the related impacts:

Warming of the lower stratosphere would tend to slow the circumpolar westerlies but strengthen winds at lower latitudes, a combination that would significantly shift weather patterns…

This result indicates that the effect of ozone-induced warming overwhelms that of greenhouse induced cooling in the lower-stratospheric polar cap…(Science, p. 1488, Son et al.)

This can all be summarized as follows:

Above where we perceive weather, in the layer of atmosphere where only the tallest thunderstorms reach, a complex battle is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere. Carbon dioxide emissions and ozone molecules are allying in a battle to destroy the planet. However, they cannot seem to get their guns pointed away from each other. With this new research, considerable uncertainty exists in determining the exact impacts of ozone recovery + greenhouse gas emissions will have on the climate system. Uncertainty also means doubt. Is anyone out there “alarmed” that trillion dollar policy decisions are going to be made on global warming based upon climate change computer model scenarios that admittedly are missing such a huge component of the system (ozone). Time to fire up the air conditioners and start spewing freon to battle those greenhouse gases.


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