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Posted Tue Apr 5 2011: from ScienceDaily:
Record Depletion of Arctic Ozone Layer Causing Increased UV Radiation in Scandinavia
Over the past few days ozone-depleted air masses extended from the north pole to southern Scandinavia leading to higher than normal levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation during sunny days in southern Finland. These air masses will move east over the next few days, covering parts of Russia and perhaps extend as far south as the Chinese/Russian border. Such excursions of ozone-depleted air may also occur over Central Europe and could reach as far south as the Mediterranean.... "Such massive ozone loss has so far never occurred in the northern hemisphere, which is densely populated even at high latitudes," AWI researcher Markus Rex describes the situation. The ozone layer protects life on Earth's surface from harmful solar ultraviolet radiation. Because of the low inclination angle of the sun, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is not normally a public health concern at high northern latitudes. However, if ozone-depleted air masses drift further south over Central Europe, south Canada, the US, or over Central Asiatic Russia, for example, the surface intensity of UV radiation could lead to sunburn within minutes for sensitive persons, even in April.... Ozone loss was particularly large this winter due to unusually low temperature, which results in the presence of clouds in the polar stratosphere. Reactions on the surface of these clouds transform chlorine containing breakdown products of CFCs into compounds that aggressively remove ozone.... The stratosphere has been observed to cool, following the rise of greenhouse gases (GHGs), because heat that would otherwise reach the stratosphere is trapped below, warming the surface. The situation for the Polar Stratosphere is more complicated because of dynamical heating by waves generated in frontal systems. For several years, however, scientists have noted that the coldest winters in the Arctic stratosphere are getting colder, a development that enhances the ozone-destroying efficiency of the remaining CFCs and could be linked to rising levels of GHGs.
[Read more stories about: airborne pollutants, unintended consequences, anthropogenic change]

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