New research of the Ozone Layer
New research came out on the deteriorating condition of the Ozone Layer due to the December 2019–20 wildfires in Australia. The fumes from the blaze caused chemical reactions that caused ozone erosion and led to a 10% widening of the hole in the layer.
The depletion can be seen in the layer that covers Australia, New Zealand, and some parts of Africa and South America in the Southern Hemisphere. The surge of forest fires could impede the recovery of the Earth’s ailing atmosphere against the lethal Ultra Violet radiation.
An atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Kane Stone, said that the smoke had reached the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that houses the Ozone Layer, harming the Earth’s shield against the UV rays.
It implies that the monstrous wildfire emitted more than 1 million tons of smoke that were 30 kilometres high. It not only deplored the country but also left the atmosphere dilapidated.
In previous years, the researchers noticed the Ozone Layer that appears yearly over Antarctica became bigger and lasted longer. The researcher did not know what might have caused this.
The burning of Australia from late 2019 through early 2020 has not only caused the depletion of Earth’s blanket but has also harmed the massive strip of a forest of eucalyptus. It further captivated Sydney in its web of ash and smoke for months.
The scientist who identified the chemicals, Susan Soloman, stated that the 2020 Australian fire was a wake-up call for the realm of science. Before, the adversities of the blaze were not held accountable for the projections of ozone retrieval. She thinks that the frequency and severity of fire will determine the future of the effect, and she further added that she believes that it will surge the Earth’s temperature.
Soloman further suggested that this chemical reaction triggered cold conditions in the warm air that the smoke from the fire might cause. The information from the satellite indicated that regions away from the South Pole at warmer latitudes faced a rate of hydrochloric acid that was relatively low compared to the previous years. After the fire, the stratosphere looked like another planet.
A Californian meteorologist at the US Naval Research Lab in Monterey, David Peterson, said that not all smoke reaches the stratosphere. The fire that combines with moist air because of its height, the monstrous firestorm forms chimney-like clouds that emit smoke into the atmosphere. He further commented that it would be crucial to figure out what causes the high-fuming smoke to reach the stratosphere and how much damage the fire will do to the Ozone Layer.
Almost 80% of the chlorine in the atmosphere is a remnant from the 1930s: chlorofluorocarbon, the chemical used in aerosol sprays and refrigerants. Since the implementation of an international treaty, the use of the mentioned chemicals and products has been mostly phased out. There is still the presence of chlorine as hydrochloric acid and chlorine nitrate; however, the remnants are harmless to the ozone layer.
Although the remnants do not harm the ozone layer, it does not mean that also the alteration of chemicals would have any implications. Kane Stone mentioned that ozone-deteriorating elements could be formed when hydrochloric acid dissolves in water. Due to the warmth of the air, it is not usual for this phenomenon to occur at a distance from the poles.