Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Here Comes the Sun

Could it be that freon and similar gases may not be the biggest contributor to upper atmosphere ozone depletion? Maybe that big bright star that rises in the East has something to do with it:

A dramatic thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last year was the result of intense upper-level winds and an extra dose of space weather, scientists said Tuesday.

In a new study, scientists conclude that an intense round of solar storms around Halloween in 2003 was at the root of the problem.

"No one predicted the dramatic loss of ozone in the upper stratosphere of
the Northern Hemisphere in the spring of 2004," Randall said. "That we can
still be surprised illustrates the difficulties in separating atmospheric
effects due to natural and human-induced causes."