Friday, September 10, 2010

Stratospheric Ozone, and Tropospheric Ozone

I am incensed. I have given Obama every benefit of the doubt, even through many disappointing decisions - from not prosecuting war criminals to not insisting on a universal health care plan - that deviated from his promises during his campaign. But today, when he refused to accept the White House solar panels from the Carter era, trailered down from Maine by Bill McKibben, I am now totally disgusted.

Bill McKibben, I extend my condolences to you, I can only imagine your dismay. However, I must also reiterate my pleas here and here to change your strategy. The emphasis on CO2 emissions causing climate change simply ISN'T WORKING. People need to be told that their food supply is in imminent jeopardy from exposure to toxic ozone! Nothing less will cause them to pay attention - not floods in Pakistan, or melting glaciers, or penguins going extinct...all far off, and in the future.

For myself, I continue my search to understand why exactly plants are dying at a precipitous rate. Fresh explanations arise from unexpected sources almost every day!

This Youtube video is an intriguing graphic from NASA that may lend credence -
to suggestions that more UV radiation is penetrating through the "good" ozone that protects earth from damaging UV radiation - but which has been depleted in the stratosphere by increased solar storms - thus interacting with fuel emissions and increasing the levels of "bad" ozone, in the troposphere, where people and plants are exposed to its toxic effects. In fact I do not understand why so often there are reports that the stratospheric ozone hole is recovering, and that the Montreal Protocol is some sort of treaty success. Actual data seem to indicate the opposite.

Here is the description that accompanies the simulation:

"If this does not scare you open your eyes. This Summer in the Arctic we are viewing destruction of the Ozone Layer in historic proportions . This I feel is not from so called Global Warming or even pollution but is being caused from the same destructive forces that have been bombarding the Magnetosphere , Be it Gamma Burst or particle events to a breeched Magnetosphere. If this continues we are going to be in a world of problems . This study covers January to August 2009 and covers the destablization of the Northern Polar Vortex twice in only one year.
The stratosphere above the Arctic loses about 12% of its ozone each year. The ozone hole is more serious in the Antarctic, where about 60% of the stratospheric ozone is lost each spring. There are two explanations for the difference. To start with, the Arctic has more ozone than the Antarctic. The Antarctic vortex is far stronger, so atmospheric conditions inside it remain undisturbed in winter and its temperatures fall much lower. In the Arctic, greater atmospheric circulation and mixing during winter makes its vortex less stable. There, events called sudden stratospheric warmings allow warmer air to enter the vortex. These can warm the stratosphere enough to prevent the cold polar clouds, where ozone is destroyed, from forming or reduce their lifespan. However, due to the presence of people, plants, and animals, increased UV radiation from ozone loss is still a concern over the Arctic.
Although the polar ozone "holes" have attracted the most attention, stratospheric ozone has also thinned over other areas of the globe. Worldwide stratospheric ozone has fallen by 17% over the past 17 years, mostly in winter, but also in summer. In early 1993, scientists recorded low concentrations over much of Canada. These appeared to be linked to the injection of aerosols into the atmosphere from the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. By 1994, ozone amounts over Canada had recovered to pre-Pinatubo levels, but were still lower than normal. Another reason for the decrease in mid-latitude ozone could be the mixing of Arctic air. Large depletions in the Arctic could cause this ozone-deficient air to dilute the ozone content of air farther south.
The Dobson Unit is the most common unit for measuring ozone concentration. One Dobson Unit is the number of molecules of ozone that would be required to create a layer of pure ozone 0.01 millimeters thick at a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius and a pressure of 1 atmosphere (the air pressure at the surface of the Earth). Expressed another way, a column of air with an ozone concentration of 1 Dobson Unit would contain about 2.69x1016 ozone molecules for every square centimeter of area at the base of the column. Over the Earths surface, the ozone layers average thickness is about 300 Dobson Units or a layer that is 3 millimeters thick.
Ozone in the atmosphere isnt all packed into a single layer at a certain altitude above the Earths surface; its dispersed. Even the stratospheric ozone known as the ozone layer is not a single layer of pure ozone. It is simply a region where ozone is more common than it is at other altitudes. Satellite sensors and other ozone-measuring devices measure the total ozone concentration for an entire column of the atmosphere. The Dobson Unit is a way to describe how much ozone there would be in the column if it were all squeezed into a single layer.
The average amount of ozone in the atmosphere is roughly 300 Dobson Units, equivalent to a layer 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) thick—the height of 2 pennies stacked together. What scientists call the Antarctic Ozone Hole is an area where the ozone concentration drops to an average of about 100 Dobson Units. One hundred Dobson Units of ozone would form a layer only 1 millimeter thick if it were compressed into a single layer, about the height of a dime.
How much is this, compared to the rest of the atmosphere? If all of the air in a vertical column that extends from the ground up to space were collected and squeezed together at a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius and a pressure of 1 atmosphere, that column would be 8 kilometers thick (or about 5 miles). Compare that to the 3 millimeters described above, and you may realize just how tenuous the Earths ozone layer is."

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I am the giant oak tree lady in upstate NY!

    My father, Dr. Aden Meinel, was the head of Carter's Alternative Energy Commission and he talked the President into putting solar panels on the White House and Jimmy sent my dad to Beijing to start Chinese solar factories which now grind out many solar panels, of course, and export these all over the earth.

    Reagan took these panels down and told my dad to retire, to go away. HAHAHA. The Chinese, on the other hand, begged him to come over every year and supervise their new factories and teach in their universities so he did and this is the end of the story: Chinese are very smart and US government and politicians are very stupid.

    China will rule the planet.


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