will the ozone fail us and if it does are we screwed?

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Offline tony6789

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will the ozone fail us and if it does are we screwed?
« Reply #1 on: 14/05/2007 17:10:30 »
There was much hype about chlorinated hydrocarbons causing damage to the ozone layer.

We have outlawed the production of most chlorinated hydrocarbons.

It is ofcourse easier to pass a law than enforce it, and while there may be little chlorinated hydrocarbons produced in Europe or North America, how do you enforce such a law throughout Africa and Asia?

Nor is the science behind all the hype actually proven beyond doubt.  What we know is that when we looked at the sky around Antarctica, we saw a thinning of the ozone layer.  Nobody has proven that this is not a natural effect (we have inadequate comparative data to work with).

If the ozone hole is a natural event, then it will probably be self limiting (although, ofcourse, since we do not really know what the history of the ozone layer is over the longer time frames, we cannot be sure that this is so).

If the ozone hole (technically, only a thinning of the ozone layer, so a dimple rather than a hole - but hole sounds more dramatic) is man made, and caused by chlorinated hydrocarbons; and if the ban on chlorinated hydrocarbons is substantially enforceable; then the hole should heal.

If the hole is neither self limiting, nor will it heal itself; then we can see increased levels of UV radiation reaching ground level.  This should mean that if people do a lot of sun bathing, the levels of skin cancer will be higher than would otherwise be the case.  On the other hand, if we all start wearing all enveloping clothing (like traditional Arab dress), then there should be little impact upon humans (the greater risk might in fact be that due to fear of skin cancer we might find ourselves suffering from vitamin D deficiency).

Despite all the hype about increased UV radiation being a disaster for other life on Earth; I think that Chernobyl has actually demonstrated just how resilient nature is to higher levels of radiation (the local increases in radiation around Chernobyl are far higher than any increase in UV caused by a ozone thinning is likely to create).