The Ozone Layer could cool-and weaken because of greenhouse gases

Mainly CO2 causing warming lower down is shifting the atmosphere’s thermal balance, keeping the hotter zones down and allowing the ozone layer to cool. This can weaken the ozone layer even further and the lower stratosphere is presently the thinnest of ozone. It is probably succumbing to the following chemistry from clouds that will form in the cooler temperatures:

“These clouds have two negative effects on ozone:

    • they sequester oxides of nitrogen (as nitric acid) which could react with chlorine monoxide to form the chlorine nitrate reservoir species (see immediately above), and
    • they act as an active site on which a very slow gas phase reaction can go very quickly heterogeneously (gases reacting on solid surfaces). This reaction can be viewed as:

HCl + ClONO2 —- on ice —-> Cl2 (gas) + HNO(ice)

This reaction releases molecular chlorine into the stratospheric gas phase during the austral winter and thereby helps to remove chlorine reservoir species. When the sun starts to shine on the polar stratosphere at the beginning of austral spring, this chlorine gas is photolyzed back to chlorine radicals which can THEN enter into the catalytic destruction of ozone. The result is that at the beginning of the austral spring (~ October over Antarctica) the ozone in the stratosphere is depleted to less than 20% of its winter levels.”

Since we see such a large seasonal reduction in Ozone over the poles, we should be concerned that the cooling and the holes will migrate further South as they enlarge because of the CO2 down below stealing the heat.  There is 6 fold the chlorine that there should be in the stratosphere-everywhere-so it is vulnerable.

If we need to, we can add oxygen to the stratosphere to increase relative oxygen levels and thus ozone. We need to watch the stratospheric clouds and prepare for further destruction to occur as CO2 levels rise and the stratosphere cools. The burning radiation from UV rays will affect plants and animals negatively, lowering health and productivity.

Part of the added oxygen would cool the earth by removing synthetic greenhouse gases as they are potent heat trapping gases that contribute 80 ppm of CO2 equivalent warming to the Earth (Ronald Prinn et al). It looks like we need to be ready to remove them and cool things down.


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