The atmosphere contains several layers. These layers are differentiated by the composition and temperatures of these layers. One such layer, the stratosphere, warms as height above the Earth’s surface increases. The stratosphere is a layer of the atmosphere that extends some 10 – 15 km above the Earth’s surface. How does it warm? The Earth is protected from harmful ultraviolet rays by a layer of ozone molecules that are located in a region of the atmosphere called the stratosphere. This absorption of UV light is what effectively warms this layer of the atmosphere.
The changes in climate due to changes in ozone start with atmospheric temperatures. As concentrations of ozone increase, the temperatures also must increase. This increase in temperature is because of ozone’s ability to retain heat by processes of absorption. As the sun produces large amounts of ultraviolet light, some of this light passes through the entire atmosphere while some of this ultraviolet light becomes absorbed. Another reason that the stratosphere warms is because this ozone also absorbs infrared radiation that is emitted from the troposphere (the layer below the stratosphere). As concentrations of ozone decrease, so do stratospheric temperatures. Recent studies have concluded that over the past several decades, the stratosphere has cooled nearly 1° to 6° C. Some believe that a link between lower stratospheric temperatures and rising greenhouse gases could exist. A possible positive feedback loop is concerning some scientists. This feedback loop suggests that, as more ozone is lost in the stratosphere, the colder the atmosphere would get due to the loss of ozone. The colder the atmosphere gets the more ozone depletion that will occur.
Ozone and climate interactions are also known at the surface of the Earth. Ozone forms through the interaction of sunlight and photochemistry or how sunlight interacts with certain chemicals. Generally two groups of compounds are known for ozone creation; nitrogen oxides and VOCs or volatile organic compounds. As temperatures increase, chemical processes and interactions tend to increase. As one can expect, because we tend to see an increase in global temperature trends, we can also expect to see more days when ozone would impact human activities. However, there is still some speculation, as some chemical reactions are not modified by warming temperatures. Some scientists also speculate that ozone pollution in the troposphere is caused by a higher probability that higher temperatures will lead to a greater demand for air conditioning. Since most of today’s electricity is generated through power plants, the greater emissions of would likely cause more ozone pollution.
The complex interactions between Earth’s Ozone layer and global warming are a growing concern and an active area of research. While the science has matured greatly over the last several decades, there are many questions that still lack answers, but rest assured there are a number of scientists that are making strides, and finding solutions to complex problems.
To learn more about other interesting weather events, stories, and topics from across the Polar regions, be sure to click on the following link: https://globalweatherclimatecenter.com/polar-regions!
© 2018 Meteorologist Allan Diegan
DISCUSSION: There is no question that as planet Earth continues to gradually warm, both the thickness and the extent of Arctic and aunt Arctic sea ice coverage will evolve as well, which has already been clearly documented by many scientists and scientific organizations alike. In that light, it is important to recognize that as Arctic and/or Antarctic sea ice melts and re-freezes on a season-to-season basis, there are also major fundamental changes which unfold as a direct result of these changes. What is the premier changes that unfolds is the fact that older sea ice tends to melt away and often gets replaced by newer and younger sea ice. This is an important change to the overall character of both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles alike since this indicates that the nature of the polar regions is changing in a rather dramatic way.
More specifically, as older sea ice melts and is later replaced by newer sea ice, this indicates a change in the age of the sea ice being present in either Arctic and/or Antarctic Circle. Hence, this indicates that changes in the age and the overall spatial extent of the net annual sea ice coverage are gradually becoming increasingly more volatile with time. Attached below are a couple of exact excerpts from the original article courtesy of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration which provides even more details on this issue.
“This visualization begins by showing the dynamic beauty of the Arctic sea ice as it responds to winds and ocean currents. Research into the behavior of the Arctic sea ice for the last 30 years has led to a deeper understanding of how this ice survives from year to year. In the animation that follows, age of the sea ice is visible, showing the younger ice in darker shades of blue and the oldest ice in brighter white. This visual representation of the ice age clearly shows how the quantity of older and thicker ice has changed between 1984 and 2016……Furthermore, the issue of the declining sea ice near the North Pole is set in its natural configuration. An analysis of the age of the Arctic sea ice indicates that it traditionally became older while circulating in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska and was then primarily lost in the warmer regions along the eastern coast of Greenland. In recent years, however, warmer water in the Beaufort Sea, possibly from the Bering Strait, often melts away the sea ice in the summer before it can get older.”
This reality just goes to show that the nature of both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice average thickness and spatial extent is most certainly changing at a more alarming rate and it is that much more important to continue to push and emphasize the value of advocating for more and more productive environmentally-friendly changes to our everyday lives as society continues to evolve with passing time.
To learn more about other interesting weather events, stories, and topics from across the Polar regions, be sure to click on the following link: https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/polar-regions!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: As the Earth continues to undergo a gradual warming trend, one of the hotter topics in science and society is the large variety of issues pertaining to a shrinking percentage of average annual Arctic sea ice coverage. Over the past few decades, there has been a substantial increase in the magnitude of inter-seasonal Arctic sea ice melting. As a result of this increased Arctic sea ice melting, this has created substantial changes in much longer-term Arctic sea ice coverage changes. One of the more notable changes to Arctic sea ice coverage is the fact that the recent increasing rates of sea ice melting are also melting away much older sea ice. This is indicative of the fact that tremendous amounts of Arctic sea ice are being lost both seasonally and annually over the course of recent decades. The defense for this determination is based on the fact that in order for older sea ice to be extinguished, a much greater percentage of the uppermost layers of Arctic sea ice must first melt away.
Therefore, the increasing average temperature across many parts of the greater Arctic Circle are directly causing a major percentage of annual Arctic sea ice to melt away which makes the deeper, older Arctic sea ice much more vulnerable over the course of time. This is a significant change and impact to the overall ice record, since this also induces a more amplified release of carbon dioxide and other trace gases into the atmosphere which furthers the impact of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is effectively the process by which various gases which exist naturally and/or are anthropogenically-generated are trapped in the middle to upper parts of the atmosphere and consequently trap increasing amounts of heat on Earth. This additional heat being trapped within the global atmosphere surrounding planet Earth acts to further exacerbate the problem of a gradually warming planet. Thus, the average temperature increases in and around the Arctic Circle are a major concern for life on Earth as we continue to get further into the 21st Century.
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© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
Natural hazards have always posed a problem. Whether it be an earthquake, volcano or tornado, quick communication has always been able to get the message out and rescue unaware people. With that being stated, the Bogoslof volcano in Alaska may be close to a massive eruption. It has erupted frequently, and it may pose a risk to eagles and aviators alike. Bogoslof, located in the Aleutian Islands, is 850 miles towards the southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Townspeople will not be affected by ongoing eruptions. On Monday, the volcano erupted, spewing a massive ash cloud protruding into the air, erupting for roughly 3 hours. Ash clouds were seen by pilots in the area and were reported at an estimated 32,000 feet.
Agile work by the National Weather Service is proving to be critical, as many flights are being forced to re-direct their course. Flying directly into a cloud of ash can nearly destroy the aircraft’s engines. It is suggested to fly over or around the ash.
Daily models suggest that ash from Bogoslof will drift southwest and start to spread horizontally outward. Higher ash clouds will be towards the south while lower clouds emerge to the north.
Recently, there has been frequent seismic activity and this volcano could erupt again, causing more headaches for pilots.The National Weather Service, along with others are able to monitor the volcano nonstop.
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©2017 Meteorologist David Tedesco