The Holes in the Ozone Layer and Global Warming -- Is there a Connection?
In recent years, much ink has been spilled over the fact that we have two holes in the ozone layer. Modern day Luddites and their kin have loudly claimed that the holes are the results of our abuse of the earth, that Man is to blame, and that he is destroying the environment with his fuels and activities. No doubt, some of this was warranted, and little of it was really very new. However, I have some questions about those holes that might shed a different light on them. We may want them to be there.
First of all, those holes are near on on the magnetic poles. This suggests that the distribution of the ozone layer follows earth's magnetic lines, much like the much larger Van Allen belts, which also converge at the magnetic poles. Also, since ozone is a result of the sun's radiation interacting with the earth's upper atmosphere, it is possible that the reduced amounts of available ozone are because the angles at which the sun's radiation strike the earth at that point are such that the radiation bounces off before it can affect the atmosphere as strongly as elsewhere. In neither possibility can the lowered ozone amounts be due to any human action, but rather are a response to natural laws of physics.
But even if either of those reasons are valid, the question still remains. Why are the holes there? I think the answer lies in global warming. I think the holes reduce the possibility of that happening.
Studies of Venus have shown that it has a solid cloud cover that does not allow heat do dissipate into space. Therefore, the radiation and heat from the sun come down to the planet's surface, but the heat does not leave. In addition, the heat of Venus's core adds to the heat build up. The result has been a place that is so hot and so baked by radiation that we cannot imagine how horrible it is. Nothing could live there; at least, nothing we know.
Earth, however, does not have this solid shield. Our layers of radiation protection have holes in them. This means that as the Earth warms, some of the hear dissipates into space so that a temporary rise in temperature is simply that, temporary. The system is delicate; the effect of the holes can be temporarily overcome, or the holes can allow too much heat to escape. No doubt, global history can be seen as an alteration between the two extremes. Times of heat and drought when not enough heat escaped; ice ages when too much was allowed through.
Has this possibility ever been considered? Is the life of the Earth dependent on the very holes that many scientists are pointing to and crying, "Disaster!"?Return to Topics of Interest Return to Table of Contents