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Archive for the ‘UV-B’ Category

Arctic Ozone Loss Ahoy!

Posted by feww on March 30, 2011

Arctic losing ozone rapidly

Atmospheric ozone levels in the Arctic approaching the lowest levels on modern record

Large ozone depletion in the Arctic is currently occurring because of unusually low temperatures, according to extensive measurements carried out throughout the Arctic and Subarctic regions, which are coordinated by Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

The above  ozone concentrations maps for the Arctic region are from  the OMI on NASA’s Aura satellite. Left image, showing relatively high ozone, is for March 19, 2010;  right, showing lower levels, is for the same date in 2011. See animation. Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge.

“Our measurements show that at the relevant altitudes about half of the ozone that was present above the Arctic has been destroyed over the past weeks,” says AWI researcher Markus Rex.“Since the conditions leading to this unusually rapid ozone depletion continue to prevail, we expect further depletion to occur.”

“The changes observed at present may also have an impact outside the thinly populated Arctic. Air masses exposed to ozone loss above the Arctic tend to drift southwards later. Hence, due to reduced UV protection by the severely thinned ozone layer, episodes of high UV intensity may also occur in middle latitudes.” AWI said.

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Antarctic Ozone Depth Down to 100 DU

Posted by feww on October 8, 2008

Having broken the previous size record [up by 1million km², or 3.9 %, to 27,000 km²,] the Antarctic ozone depth fell to a low of 100 DU

The George W. Bush Antarctic Ozone Hole – October 04, 2008

Source: NASA Ozone Hole Watch

From a previous entry:

A Deserving Dedication

The Moderators would like to dedicate this year’s Antarctic ozone hole to the outgoing [hopefully] US president [sic] Mr GW Bush. Furthermore we invite all parties concerned to consider renaming the Antarctic Ozone Hole after GW Bush for his contribution to the worsening state of the world. During his 8-year occupation of White House, Mr Bush caused more damage to the world (environment, climate, humanity, security … ) than anyone else before him.

[It’s hoped that NASA employees responsible for Ozone Hole Watch retain the integrity of all data, and blow the whistle if they find any anomaly in the data sets, this year.]

Ozone Facts

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a colorless gas. Chemically, ozone is very active; it reacts readily with a great many other substances. Near the Earth’s surface, those reactions cause rubber to crack, hurt plant life, and damage people’s lung tissues. But ozone also absorbs harmful components of sunlight, known as “ultraviolet B”, or “UV-B”. High above the surface, above even the weather systems, a tenuous layer of ozone gas absorbs UV-B, protecting living things below. (Source: NASA Ozone Watch)

What is a Dobson Unit?

The Dobson Unit (DU) is the unit of measure for total ozone. If you were to take all the ozone in a column of air stretching from the surface of the earth to space, and bring all that ozone to standard temperature (0 °Celsius) and pressure (1013.25 millibars, or one atmosphere, or “atm”), the column would be about 0.3 centimeters thick. Thus, the total ozone would be 0.3 atm-cm. To make the units easier to work with, the “Dobson Unit” is defined to be 0.001 atm-cm. Our 0.3 atm-cm would be 300 DU. (Source: NASA Ozone Watch)

Exposure to Excessive UV Radiation

Without Ozone life on Earth is not possible. Ozone depletion allows higher levels of UV radiation (UVA and UVB) reaching the Earth’s surface and poses the biggest threat to life and the ecosystems. The amount of UV radiation reaching the Antarctica can double during the annual “ozone hole”- a severe depletion of ozone layer.

At usual times, when the ozone hole disappears, New Zealand still receives at least 42 percent more ultraviolet rays than Northern Hemisphere.

NASA and NOAA Declare 2006 Ozone Hole a Double Record Breaker

“The ozone hole of 2006 is the most severe ozone hole (least amount of ozone) observed to date. NASA’s Aura satellite observed a low value of 85 Dobson Units (DU) on Oct. 8 in a region over the East Antarctic ice sheet.”[3]

With a few exceptions, the depth and size of the Antarctic Ozone Hole is increasing each year, while the concentration of ozone, measured in Dobson Unit (DU), is decreasing. The large and persistent ozone hole will “allow much more ultraviolet light than usual to reach Earth’s surface in the southern latitudes.”[3]

Major Health Problems Linked to Overexposure to UV Radiation

Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to the potentially fatal melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, as well as skin disorders like actinic keratoses and premature aging of skin. UV radiation impairs human immune system (including reaction to certain medications, poor response to immunization, and sensitivity to sunlight) and readily damages DNA in all cells causing genetic mutations. [4]

UV radiation increases the incidents of cataracts, chronic eye disease and other eye damage, and several types of blood disease.

The Skin Cancer ‘Hot Spot.’ New Zealand (and Australia) is the worst hotspot for skin cancer in the world. Each year 1 in 29 New Zealanders is diagnosed with skin cancer.[5]

Melanoma Skin Cancers. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Many dermatologists believe that exposure to sunburns in children and young adults can lead to melanoma later in life. Reported melanoma cases in New Zealand have almost doubled since 1993 and the rising trend is expected to continue. New Zealand [and Australia] has the highest age-adjusted melanoma incidence rates in the world.[6]

New research commissioned by MoleMap New Zealand, a melanoma surveillance program, reveals about one in four New Zealand farmers have suffered skin cancer.[7]

“Almost 300 people die from melanoma each year and New Zealand has the highest melanoma death rate in the world.” Generally, skin cancer incidents occur in older age groups, however, “life-threatening melanoma is most common in people aged between 20 and 39 years.”[8]

In the United States, an estimated 7,910 people will die of melanoma in 2006. [9] The melanoma death rate in New Zealand is about three times higher than the United States.

Non-melanoma Skin Cancers. Non-melanoma skin cancers are less deadly than melanoma cases. However, they can spread, causing disfigurement and more serious health problems, if not treated early. At least 160,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in New Zealand each year. [10]

Other types of UV-related skin cancer tumors include Basal Cell Carcinomas, and Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Although Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly, it can penetrate to the bone and cause considerable damage. Squamous Cell Carcinomas tumors, which usually appear as nodules or as red, flaky swelling, develop into large patches and spread all over the body. [11]

Cataracts and Other Eye Damage. Cataracts, a type of eye damage, causes the loss of transparency in the lens of the eye, clouds vision and can lead to blindness, if left untreated. The UV radiation increases the likelihood of developing cataracts. UV radiation also causes other kinds of eye damage including “pterygium (i.e., tissue growth that can block vision), skin cancer around the eyes, and degeneration of the macula (i.e., the part of the retina where visual perception is most acute).” [12]

Immune Suppression. Overexposure to UV radiation may suppress the body’s immune system. “Increased exposure to UV rays in animals and humans has been linked to elevated risk from the following diseases: the herpes viruses, the human immunodeficiency virus HIV- 1, a variety of papilloma viruses, leishmaniasis, malaria, forms of tuberculosis, leprosy, lupus erthematodes, dermatitis, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. Since UV rays readily damage DNA in all cells, it is not unrealistic to hypothesize that this will play an additional role in the mutation of existing disease bacteria and viruses and may produce totally new strains of pathogens.” [13]

Note: The above passage is from Truth About ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ Advertising Campaign. For a list of references, see original article at above link.

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Posted in Immune Suppression, immunodeficiency virus HIV- 1, melanoma, nasa, UV-B | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »