Ozone Update

14 October 2001


Now some news from the other side of the world. It's getting wintry over here, but it's spring time in the Southern hemisphere, and this means it's the start of the ozone hole season. People from the South will be slapping on the sunblock, because this year's ozone hole looks as if it could be as big as last years, and that was the biggest ever. It was also the first time the hole covered a city: Punta Arenas at the Southern tip of Chile. If the hole gets bigger it could affect Australia, New Zealand and even the tip of Africa. You can log on the NASA website and see it happening before your very eyes. But wasn't the hole supposed to peak in 1998? Experts did predict that the ozone layer would recover after a ban on CFCs, the chorine-containing chemicals that caused the hole. But the system is more complicated than they first thought, and they now think that global warming is prolonging the life of the ozone hole. But we should be grateful that industry chose CFCs, not BFCs, the same chemical but containing bromine instead of chlorine. Experts say that if they did, the ozone layer covering the entire world would have been lost. Then we'd all be slapping on the sunblock.


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