ozone layer

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The Ozone Hole Is Nearing Record Size

It's now larger than the entirety of North America

(Newser) - Scientists who assumed the infamous ozone hole over Antarctica was steadily shrinking received an unpleasant surprise last month: The hole is approaching a size unseen in nine years, Popular Science reports. According to Live Science , in October researchers at the German Aerospace Center recorded the size of the hole in... More »

UN: Ozone Is Bouncing Back

Layer is showing first signs of recovery

(Newser) - An environment story without warnings of impending doom : The ozone layer that blocks cancer-causing rays from the sun is finally starting to recover thanks to global action, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. While it will probably take until the middle of this century... More »

4 Mystery Gases Eat Up Ozone Layer

Scientists suspect manufacturers in the northern hemisphere

(Newser) - Scientists have spotted four mysterious ozone-depleting gases in Earth's atmosphere, two of which are still accumulating and causing researchers some concern, AFP reports. Three of them are chlorofluorocarbons—which were mostly banned by the 1987 Montreal Protocol—and one is another ozone-destroying gas called a hydrochlorofluorocarbon. The scientific team... More »

Ozone Hole Smallest It's Been in a Decade

Chlorofluorocarbon ban appears to be improving Earth's ozone

(Newser) - One of the most infamous symbols of man's assault on the planet is actually diminishing: The ozone hole over Antarctica was smaller in 2012 than it has been in 10 years, reports LiveScience . Scientists credit the improvement to the worldwide ban on chlorofluorocarbons, which cause the hole to appear... More »

Latest Task for Drones: Study Earth's Ozone Layer

Global Hawk will survey the tropopause

(Newser) - Today's science vocab lesson: tropopause. It's the atmospheric boundary between the troposphere, where ozone exists as a harmful greenhouse gas, and the higher-up stratosphere, where the same gas plays an important role in protecting the Earth from the sun's UV rays. And that boundary region is about... More »

Skin Cancer Rampant Among Australia's Trout

Great Barrier Reef sits under large ozone hole

(Newser) - Look out, Snooki, sun tans are dangerous—even for fish. Scientists in Australia have discovered that 15% of coral trout in the Great Barrier Reef have gotten skin cancer from ultraviolet radiation. The Land Down Under, the LA Times notes, lies under the Earth's biggest hole in the ozone... More »

New Threat to Ozone Layer: Summer Storms

Study points to US skin cancer risk

(Newser) - New research links two major environmental concerns: ozone depletion and climate change. Soaring water vapor from summer storms can damage the ozone layer right over the US, researchers find, and global warming can increase the frequency of such storms. Once the vapor reaches the stratosphere, it can interact with chemicals... More »

Venus Has Ozone Layer, Too

It joins Earth and Mars

(Newser) - Venus has joined Earth and Mars in the ozone layer club. A spacecraft from the European Space Agency detected a thin layer about 60 miles above the planet, reports the BBC . Ozone protects Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays, and astronomers say the discovery could help fine-tune their hunt... More »

80% Loss of Arctic Ozone Caused by...

... months of stratospheric cold weather

(Newser) - Amid our heated political debate on climate change, it's cold air that apparently depleted the Arctic's ozone layer, the BBC reports. An article in the journal Nature says an 80% reduction of Arctic ozone, noted earlier this year , was caused by cold air hanging around the stratosphere for... More »

Al Gore Disappointed in Obama

He criticizes decision to stop push for tougher smog rules

(Newser) - Et tu, Al? Former VP Gore joined the chorus critical of President Obama today in a short blog post headlined "Confronting Disappointment." Gore focused on the president's environmental moves, specifically the surprise decision not to impose tougher smog rules . But he also noted that the decision came... More »

Burning Coal Slowed Climate Change: Study

Sulfur pollution masked effect of CO2 emissions

(Newser) - The vast amounts of coal China burned during the 2000s may have actually slowed down climate change, according to a new study. Researchers believe the sulfur pollution caused by burning coal deflected the sun's rays, causing a temporary plateau in warming, the AP reports. But while sulfur drops out... More »

Arctic Ozone Took 40% Hit This Winter

Up from previous record of 30%

(Newser) - The ozone layer above the Arctic withered by 40% this winter, according to the UN's weather agency, a stark increase from the previous seasonal record of 30%. The loss was driven largely by frigid conditions in the stratosphere—though surface temperatures were actually warmer than normal—and lingering chemicals banned... More »

Ozone Hole Shrinks Again

Efforts to phase out CFCs may actually be working

(Newser) - Here's a rare bit of good environmental news: The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, cause célèbre of the '90s, is smaller than it's been for the past 5 years, MSNBC reports. The latest data fit with a pattern of reduction over the last few years that... More »

Whales Face 'Serious' Sunburn Threat

Depleted ozone may be risk for already-endangered animals

(Newser) - Whales off the coast of Mexico seem to be getting bad sunburns, and scientists say ozone damage may be why. To survive, whales have to spend long periods on the ocean’s surface, and without clothes, fur, or feathers, they’re basically “sunbathing naked,” the AP notes. The... More »

EPA to Toughen Smog Rules

Measure would be costly but yield huge health savings

(Newser) - The EPA wants to ramp up smog standards in a significant way from the Bush administration. Assuming today's proposal goes through after a 60-day period for public comment, the agency projects the new standards would prevent 12,000 premature deaths and yield huge savings in health costs. The rules limit... More »

Nearby Star Could Doom Earth, Scientists Warn

... in 10 million years

(Newser) - The T Pyxidis binary star system is a lot closer than earlier believed, and that could be very bad news for Earthlings, according to a team of astronomers. One of its stars is a white dwarf set to become a Type 1A supernova—10 million times stronger than a regular... More »

Sea Rise Estimates Double

Antarctic melt will threaten major world cities

(Newser) - Accelerated melting of Antarctic ice is set to send sea levels rising double previous estimates, researchers warn. The seas will rise by 4.5 feet by the end of this century if temperatures continue climbing at the current rate, threatening coastal cities like New York and Shanghai, according to the... More »

The Latest Ozone Villain: Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide nothing to chuckle about, climate scientists say

(Newser) - Nitrous oxide is the new chlorofluorocarbons. A study published today fingers N2O, aka laughing gas, as the most dangerous ozone-depleting gas in the air, Time reports. Nitrous oxide isn’t as dangerous as CFCs, but it’s incredibly common, emitted by everything from fertilizer to sewage treatment plants to cars.... More »

Cataract Risk Linked to Climate Change

Rising UV levels will hit developing countries hardest

(Newser) - As climate change drives ozone depletion and increases the level of ultraviolet rays reaching Earth's surface, humans' eyesight will be suffering more and more, AFP reports. UV rays are one of the leading causes of cataracts, which in turn cause 50% of avoidable blindness worldwide. The trend is likely to... More »

Star Could Fire Death Ray at Earth

Perfect spiral 8K light years away produces gamma rays

(Newser) - Don't freak out, but an unstable star a mere 8,000 light years away could go supernova at any time, sending a massive gamma ray burst hurtling toward Earth, possibly destroying the ozone layer and blasting half of the planet with deadly radiation. WR 104 is what's known as a... More »

20 Stories