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The Ozone’s OK, in Antarctica Anyway


Poor Penguin! Photograph: Arkady Pingviniuk/National Geographic Russia

Would it not be pleasant to begin the week with good news?


With politicians switching places, policies swinging direction, SRES under threat, the NEG no longer clear — and that’s our country and industry alone...


Let’s look at a positive development to kick off the working week!


An entry of the Encyclopedia Britannica page appeared on my Facebook feed this morning and began my Monday the right way.


The first evidence is in that the Ozone’s on its way to being ok!


It Wasn’t. . .


If you are reading this, I expect you have heard the Ozone has been decreasing. That isn’t ideal.


The Ozone is a protective layer 15km-35km up above us, in an area cooly called the stratosphere.


It is rather important, as it protects the planet from harmful kinds of UV radiation. The kinds that can damage genes, cause cancer, suppress immune systems and just generally kill most biological life on earth.


While Australia’s Ozone layer has depleted by 5%-9% since the 1960s, it was thinning above all over Antarctica. By more than 60% when compared with total global averages in the 1970s. And throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it was demonstrably measured to be decreasing continually annually. Unnerving stuff.


In an unusually unanimous international action first 46 nations — now 200 — undersigned the Montreal Protocol to reduce the use of what was considered to be the key culprit: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Think hairspray, spray-paint, aerosol containers, cleaners and refrigerants.


The theory was that these compounds combine with solar radiation, decompose in the stratosphere, then release chlorine and carbon dioxide atoms.


These do damage untold to the Ozone.


It was not in a good way in Antarctica at all!


But It Is Now!


In 2005 NASA’s Aura satellite began monitoring chlorine and Ozone levels in the Antarctic.


In 2014 the first trickle of evidence came through for the success of the measures taken by the Montreal Protocol.


However, experts were careful not to hurry to conclusions. But by 2016 the trend was sufficiently established for them to conclude that chlorine caused by CFCs had gone down and Ozone depletion over Antarctica with it.


As of 2016 the hole in Antarctica’s Ozone was four million square kilometres less than it had been in 2000.


CFC-caused chlorine levels are routinely reducing by 0.8% per annum on average and Ozone depletion has come down by 20% from 2005 levels.


Current forecasts for the Antarctic Ozone postulate that if all agreements in hand hold, levels should return to what they were before the 1980s by 2065 and perhaps even as early as 2050.


That is very good news, I think you’ll find.


But It Could Be Better



Captain Planet Commands You!

While the situation at the poles has improved, other evidence suggests the problem persists elsewhere and at another level of the stratosphere.


A direct one-to-one correspondence between this or that specific cause hasn’t been proven as yet, but coal can be named as a crucial contributor.


Both in the act of mining coal and in the burning of it to produce energy, coal releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.


For every gram of coal burned, on average, about 4 grams of carbon dioxide are produced — and coal can be up to 80% carbon dioxide turning on type.


Methane is worse still. It’s 34 times stronger at trapping heat over a 100 year period than carbon dioxide. 86 times stronger over 20 years.


But you can help! And is that not the best news possible? By joining record numbers of Australians in investing in rooftop solar.


To look into it today, be in touch with a friendly, informative and helpful consultant at Astra Solar.


Already own an array? Ask us about a battery!


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