Scientists discovered a massive ozone hole in the lower stratosphere above the tropics, which might harm half of the world’s population. According to a report published in AIP Advances, the hole is seven times the size of the Antarctic ozone hole, which only appears in the spring.
Qing-Bin Lu, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, claims in his research that an all-new ozone hole has been there since the 1980s and, unlike the Antarctic one, is present all year round.
The scientist has issued a dire warning that the existence of this new hole might have catastrophic effects on Earthly life.
“The tropics cover half of the planet’s surface area and house roughly half of the world’s people,” Lu stated in a news statement.
“The presence of the tropical ozone hole may generate a widespread alarm.”
The Equator and sections of North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia are all part of the Earth’s tropical zones.
The ozone hole is not a “hole” in which no ozone exists; rather, it is an area of an extremely reduced ozone layer.
Ozone exists in the upper atmosphere and absorbs UV light, which is hazardous to people, animals, and plants.
When chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons—gases previously found in aerosol spray cans and refrigerants—are released into the atmosphere, they deplete the ozone layer.
“Ozone layer depletion can lead to higher ground-level UV radiation, which can raise the risk of skin cancer and cataracts in people, as well as impair human immune systems, lower agricultural output, and negatively affect sensitive aquatic creatures and ecosystems,” Lu explained.
Lu and his colleagues discovered this newest gap by analyzing average annual ozone increases, differences in annual ozone climatology, and temperature variations over the previous three decades.
However, his findings surprised other scientists since traditional photochemical modeling did not reveal the big disparity.
Dr. Marta Abalos Alvarez, Researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid‘s (UCM) Department of Physics of the Earth and Astrophysics, stated:
“The publication, in my judgment, lacks the scientific rigor required to make a trustworthy contribution. It contains a lot of reasoning with major mistakes and unjustified statements that contradict prior confirmed outcomes. Ozone depletion in the tropics is nothing new, and it is mostly caused by the accelerated Brewer-Dobson circulation. Ultimately, the impact factor of the journal in which it is published is quite low.”
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