Thursday, 21 July 2011 00:00 GFP Columnist - Robert Felix
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BBC ever so subtly tries to blame humans - "The ozone layer has seen unprecedented damage in the Arctic this winter due to cold weather in the upper atmosphere," says this article by BBC environmental correspondent Richard Black.

"By the end of March, 40% of the ozone in the stratosphere had been destroyed, against a previous record of 30%," says Black.

Severe ozone depletion has been seen over Scandinavia, Greenland, and parts of Canada and Russia.

It must have pained the BBC to publish this, because their headline - "Arctic ozone levels in never-before-seen plunge" - carefully avoids the word "cold."

However, I will give them credit for admitting - in the very first paragraph - that the damage is due to cold weather in the upper atmosphere.

Then, in an apparent attempt to switch the focus onto humans, Black reminds us that ozone "is destroyed by reactions with industrial chemicals." He also speaks of the Montreal Protocol, which was meant to control the amount of (supposed) ozone-depleting gases that we nasty humans pump into the atmosphere.


"So it's really a combination of the gases still there and low temperatures and then sunshine, and then you get ozone loss," says Black, quoting Geir Braathen with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

"We have some winters that get much colder than before and also the cold periods last longer, into the spring," said Braathen. "The destructive reactions are promoted by cold conditions (below -78C) in the stratosphere."

Did you know that cold weather had anything to do with the so-called "ozone hole"? "Usually in cold winters we observe that about 25% of the ozone disappears, but this winter was really a record - 40% of the column has disappeared," said Dr Florence Goutail from the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

Winters getting colder

"Research by Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany suggests that winters that stand out as being cold in the Arctic stratosphere are getting colder."

"For the next few decades, the [Arctic ozone] story is driven by temperatures, and we don't understand what's driving this [downward] trend," he said.

"It's a big challenge to understand it and how it will drive ozone loss over coming decades."

An annual occurrence in the Antarctic

Though this is apparently a new phenomenon in the Arctic, ozone depletion triggered by the cold occurs annually in the Antarctic," says Black. "The longer and colder Antarctic winters often see 55% of the ozone depleted."

MSNBC mentions colder weather only once.

Meanwhile, MSNBC also covered this subject. On the same day, as a matter of fact. But for some reason, they mentioned the colder weather only once.

Only once!

Colder weather in the upper atmosphere is the whole point of the story - and they mention it only once! Sort of an unimportant filler. They actually make it look as if chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the causing factor.

The record ozone loss "comes despite the "very successful" Montreal Protocol aimed at cutting production and consumption of ozone-destroying chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons,” the MSNBC article warns.

"The substances were once present in refrigerators, spray cans and fire extinguishers, but have been phased out." (Talk about trying to blame humans!)

"Nevertheless, due to the long lifetimes of these compounds in the atmosphere, it will take several decades before their concentrations return to pre-1980 levels."

MSNBC entitled their article "Scientists: Arctic ozone depletion 'unprecedented." Their title, as with the BBC's, makes no mention of cold weather being the cause.

Compare the two articles. I think you'll be amazed at MSNBC's duplicity.

See entire BBC article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12969167

See entire MSNBC article:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42429967/ns/world_news-world_environment/


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You are here:   The FrontPageColumnistsUnited StatesRobert W. FelixCold Weather Destroying Ozone in the Arctic