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An interesting and very informative paper was published by the American Geophysical Union this past Saturday, entitled “Arctic winter 2010/2011 at the brink of an ozone hole.” The first paragraph of the introduction essentially summed up the paper’s key points:
Large losses of Arctic stratospheric ozone have been observed during winter 2010/2011, exceeding observed losses during cold winters over the past decades, characterized as the first Arctic Ozone Hole. Although in general Arctic ozone is expected to recover because of the reductions in ozone depleting substances as a result of the Montreal Protocol and its amendments, the observation that apparently the cold Arctic winters in the stratosphere have been getting colder over the past decades raises some concern that Arctic ozone depletion may worsen over the next decades if the cooling trend continues while concentrations of ozone depleting substances remain sufficiently high. [emphasis mine]
Two important take-aways:
- CFCs from aerosol sprays were thought to be the cause of the winter ozone hole over the south pole, which is why the Montreal Protocol banned them. Yet, despite the fact that almost all the CFCs released over the past half century were released in the northern hemisphere, and that the atmospheric components of the two hemispheres remain largely isolated from each other, last winter was the first time an ozone hole had been detected above the north pole. Moreover, this new ozone hole occurred more than twenty-three years after the Montreal Protocols were signed, time enough for the ban to have caused significant declines in atmospheric CFCs. Why then has an ozone hole appeared now above the north pole? Doesn’t this raise some interesting questions about the CFC theory itself, suggesting strongly that there are enormous unknowns that scientists did not understand in 1987 when the protocols were signed and still do not understand today?
- Temperatures in the Arctic stratosphere have been cold, and getting colder. Why? Is it simply the normal random fluctuations of the climate, or are other factors causing the temperatures to go down?
In their concluding paragraph the authors state that
There is considerable uncertainty if and to what extent past cold Arctic winters have cooled and there is even more uncertainty as to how this will evolve in the future. In general one expects a further stratospheric cooling as a result of increased levels of greenhouse gases. However, most chemistry-climate models predict a simultaneous increase in wave activity that will lead to higher Arctic temperatures in the future.
In the first sentence they admit that they really don’t understand why the temperatures have cooled recently in the Arctic stratosphere. In the second sentence they blandly state — without explanation — that greenhouse gases should cause stratospheric cooling. In the third sentence, they contradict the second sentence by noting the models call for exactly the opposite, a warming due to an increase in greenhouse gases.
Here we see the consequences of politics in science. They feel obliged to pander to the global warming crowd. The cooling must be explained by greenhouse gases, even if that makes no sense. According to every explanation of the greenhouse gas theory I have ever read, more greenhouse gases should allow the atmosphere to hold more heat. Thus, the stratosphere should show an increase in temperature, not a decrease.
Though these two points illustrate nicely the uncertainty of climate science, the paper’s overall results are what I find most interesting: the cold Arctic weather in recent years has produced an ozone hole over the north pole. This result suggests strongly that global warming might actually be beneficial to human civilization, not harmful as routinely claimed by global warming activists. If a colder climate destroys the ozone layer, which protects us from the harmful radiation from the sun, shouldn’t we want to keep the climate warmer?