‘Record breaking’ ozone hole larger than North America

By | October 20, 2006

‘Record 2The so-called “hole” in the earth’s protective ozone layer is at a new record ? 10.6 million square miles of sky around the South Pole ? even though most nations agreed back in 1987 to phase out the chemicals that cause it. … it’s taking longer than originally expected for the ozone layer to heal. A 10.6 million mile gap in it is about the size of North America. – ABC

… satellite measurements observed a low reading of 85 Dobson units of ozone on Oct. 8. That?s down from a thickness of 300 Dobson units in July. ?These numbers mean the ozone is virtually gone in this layer of the atmosphere,? said David Hofmann, director of the Global Monitoring Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?s Earth System Research Laboratory. – florida

Blame Bush’s decisions in favor of agribusiness for causing more ozone depletion. Also the military:

“in 1986 the US military and its contractors purchased half of the 150 million pounds of CFC-113 (chlorofluorocarbon-113, also known as Freon) ” – apha

“The U.S. Defense Department is a major user of Halon-1211 and CFC-113, accounting for 76% and just under 50% of total U.S. use of these two compounds, respectively. Together, these two chemicals are responsible for 13 percent of overall ozone depletion.” And “each shuttle launch deposits 56 tons of chlorine into the upper atmosphere.” The B-2 bomber “relies on a fuel additive that is a potent ozone depleter.” – nytimes

 

According to a navy web site:

The CFC Problem Historically, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been used liberally for cleaning and fire-fighting applications. The attraction of these chemicals has been that they are relatively stable, extremely easy to use, and–until the advent of the recent Federal tax on ozone-depleting substances–inexpensive. Approximately 220,000 tons of CFC-113 (trichlorotrifluoroethane) are used yearly throughout the world, much of it to clean hardware circuitry because of CFC-113’s ability to meet the stringent military specifications for cleanliness in removing contamination. CFCs, however, fall into a category called ozone-depleting compounds (ODCs). Scientists have estimated that each CFC-113 molecule has a lifetime of 100 years in the stratosphere and that each chlorine atom (of which CFC-113 has three) can destroy 100,000 ozone molecules. A 1% ozone depletion in the stratosphere equates to a 2% increase in ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth. … Under President Bush, the U.S. determined to have a complete phase-out by 1995.

DOD Use of CFCs The problem of CFC reduction is particularly difficult for the Department of Defense because … printed circuit boards are subjected to extraordinary environmental extremes. The electronics in a fighter jet, for example, must be able to withstand temperature extremes ranging from the intense heat at sea level in the Persian Gulf to below zero at 50,000 feet, as well as constant high levels of vibration, acceleration forces of a catapult launch from an aircraft carrier, and the jarring deceleration of an arrested carrier landing.

So, have all ODC’s been phased out in 2006?

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