A new study published in the academic journal Geophysical Research Letters has concluded that the hole in the ozone layer, situated above the Antarctic, may be contributing to climate change. This contradicts conventional wisdom, which states that the hole – created by human use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were banned in the 1980s – had a positive affect on global warming, though this did not offset the effects it has on public health, including exposure to ultraviolet rays.
But researchers at Columbia University in New York, led by atmospheric scientist Kevin Grise, have determined from new weather models that the ozone hole may be affecting the direction of airflow in the jet stream, pushing clouds into arctic areas where they are less effective at deflecting sunlight and mitigating climate change.
Previous findings had indicated that the ozone hole was introducing a "net negative effect" on global temperature change, as the lack of ozone was allowing more of the sun's radiation to escape into space.
But Nature Magazine reports that the new study takes into account the way the ozone influences cloud distribution in such a way that more energy is absorbed, and consequently temperatures rise. The change is small, though Grise warns that it is "not non-negligible".
"A negative radiative forcing is what you'd expect when the ozone is depleted, but our research shows that there is a positive net radiative effect during the Antarctic summer," Grise told the source.
The discovery reinforces the notion that more needs to be done to slow warming patterns if people are to avert a climate catastrophe. For more news on renewable energy and global warming, keep visiting LifeIsGreen.com.