In published June 24 in the journal NatureA sustainability article by a team of UN scientists on environmental impact assessment reports on the complex relationships between the destruction of the ozone layer over Antarctica and UV radiation, which leads to a change in climatic zones on the planet, ocean temperature, and as a result, increases the vulnerability of some animal species.
Why is the ozone layer important for the earth?
Like global climate change today,the emergence of a huge hole in the ozone layer has become a serious environmental problem of the 80s and 90s. This protective layer, located in the upper atmosphere, reflects a significant part of the destructive UV radiation and plays an important role in keeping our planet habitable. However, in the 80s, scientists discovered a hole in the ozone layer, which was formed over the Antarctic.
How did the hole appear in the ozone layer?
The reason they called the active use of peoplechlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This substance, which was used for the manufacture of refrigerants and aerosols, when released into the atmosphere in large quantities and interacting with sunlight destroyed the ozone layer. Aware of the danger, the world in 1987 signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which prohibits the use of CFCs.
30 years after signing thisThe size of the hole has decreased, but this process is very slow, so the hole in the ozone layer still has an impact on the environment. The UN researchers decided to study the impact of a hole in the ozone layer on climate change.
What led to the presence of a hole in the ozone layer?
It turned out that the greatest changes are due toAntarctic Oscillation. These are streams that are located above the lower southern hemisphere and naturally shift to the north and south over time. The new study showed that under the action of a hole in the ozone layer, the oscillations moved further south than in a thousand years. As a result, it shifted to the south and climatic zones. As this shift shifted, precipitation patterns also varied, sea-surface temperatures and ocean currents over large areas of the southern hemisphere also shifted, affecting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, South America, Africa and the Southern Ocean.
The changes also affected other parts of the ocean,making the climate warmer in some regions and colder in others. This in turn has led to changes in ecosystems in these areas. For example, warm waters have negative consequences for algae colonies off the coast of the Australian island of Tasmania and coral reefs off the coast of Brazil. The cold places, in turn, revealed some benefits for themselves: the volume of fish and krill, which are the basis of food for populations of penguins, seals, and some species of birds, increased.
“We are seeing a hole in ozone change the charactertemperatures and precipitation in the southern hemisphere. This in turn led to a change in the habitat of the algae, the fish that feed on them, as well as seals and walruses that feed on fish. In other words, we are seeing a change throughout the food chain, ”says study co-author Kevin Rose.
The impact of the situation has onother types of living organisms. Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere led to acidification of the ocean, which, in turn, depleted the shells of mollusks living in the Antarctic region. As a result, the latter turned out to be more susceptible to ultraviolet rays, which penetrate through a hole in the ozone layer.
Scientists also note the effect of a loopback between climate change and the presence of a hole in the ozone layer.
“Greenhouse gas emissions save more heatin the lower atmosphere, which leads to the cooling of its upper layers. Because ozone is depleted at lower temperatures, colder atmospheric layers slow down the recovery of the ozone layer, ”adds Rose.
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