Ozone hole over South Pole ”affecting climate change all the way to equator”Published On: Fri, Apr 22nd, 2011 | Climate Change | By BioNews
Researchers at Columbia University””s School of Engineering and Applied Science have found that the ozone hole, which is located over the South Pole, has affected the entire circulation of the Southern Hemisphere all the way to the equator.
While previous work has shown that the ozone hole is changing the atmospheric flow in the high latitudes, the new study demonstrated that the ozone hole is able to influence the tropical circulation and increase rainfall at low latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere.
This is the first time that ozone depletion, an upper atmospheric phenomenon confined to the Polar Regions, has been linked to climate change from the Pole to the equator.
“We show in this study that it has large and far-reaching impacts. The ozone hole is a big player in the climate system!” said Lorenzo M. Polvani, Professor of Applied Mathematics and of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Senior Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and co-author of the paper.
“It””s really amazing that the ozone hole, located so high up in the atmosphere over Antarctica, can have an impact all the way to the tropics and affect rainfall there — it””s just like a domino effect,” said Sarah Kang, Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Columbia Engineering””s Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and lead author of the paper.
The ozone hole is now widely believed to have been the dominant agent of atmospheric circulation changes in the Southern Hemisphere in the last half century. This means, according to Polvani and Kang, that international agreements about mitigating climate change cannot be confined to dealing with carbon alone— ozone needs to be considered, too.
“This could be a real game-changer,” added Polvani.
The study has been published in the issue of Science magazine.