In published June 24 in the journal Nature Sustainability article prepared by group of scientists on the UN assessment of the impact on the environment reported about the complex linkages between ozone layer depletion over Antarctica and UV radiation, which leads to a change of climatic zones on the planet, ocean temperature, and as a result increases the vulnerability of certain species.
Why is the ozone layer important to Earth?
As global climate change today, the appearance of a huge hole in the ozone layer has become a serious environmental problem in the 80s and 90-ies. This protective layer in the upper atmosphere reflects a significant part of the detrimental UV radiation and plays an important role in keeping our planet habitable. However, in the 80-ies scientists found a hole in the ozone layer that formed over Antarctica.
How did the hole in the ozone layer?
Cause called active consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This substance, which was used for manufacturing of refrigerants and aerosols, when released into the atmosphere in large quantities and interaction with sunlight destroying the ozone layer. Aware of the danger the world 1987 signed the Montreal Protocol on substances that Deplete the ozone layer, which prescribes the ban on the use of CFCs.
After 30 years since the signing of the document the size of hole decreased, however, this process occurs very slowly, so the hole in the ozone layer still has an impact on the environment. Researchers from the United Nations decided to study the impact hole in the ozone layer has on climate change.
What brought the presence of the hole in the ozone layer?
It turned out that the greatest changes associated with the Antarctic Oscillation. It’s the threads that are on the lower Southern hemisphere and naturally shift North and South over time. The new study showed that under the action of the hole in the ozone layer fluctuations has shifted further South than a thousand years. As a result, it shifted to the South and the climate zone. As this shift changed and the nature of precipitation, sea surface temperature 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 in some regions the climate is warmer, and others colder. This in turn has led to changes in ecosystems in these areas. For example, warm water have a negative impact on the colonies of algae from the coast of the Australian island of Tasmania, and the coral reefs off the coast of Brazil. Cold spots in turn discovered some of the benefits: increased the volume of fish and krill, which are the basis of food for populations of penguins, seals and some bird species.
“We see the hole in the ozone has changed the nature of temperature and precipitation in the southern hemisphere. This in turn led to a change of habitat algae fish that eat them, as well as seals and walrus, which feed on fish. In other words, we are witnessing changes throughout the food chain,” says study co-author Kevin rose.
Impact the situation is having on other species. Emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has led to ocean acidification, which in turn depleted the shells of mollusks living in the Antarctic region. In the result the latter was more susceptible to UV rays that penetrate through the hole in the ozone layer.
Scientists also noted the effect of the return loop between climate change and the hole in the ozone layer.
“Emissions of greenhouse gases retain more heat in the lower atmosphere, leading to cooling of the upper layers. Because ozone is depleted at lower temperatures, colder atmospheric layers lead to slower recovery of the ozone layer,” adds rose.
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