Sat tracking of ultraviolet light shows increase since 1979

UV exposure has increased over the last 30 years, but stabilized since the mid-1990s

https://i1.wp.com/www.nasa.gov/images/content/433982main_percent-change-Full.jpg

The high latitudes of the southern hemisphere have seen ultraviolet exposure increase by as much as a quarter. The low latitudes have seen little increase, and the mid-and-high latitudes of the northern hemisphere have seen about a five percent increase. Though the size of UV wavelengths ranges from 290 to 400 nanometers, 305 nanometer UV is one of the most damaging wavelengths for humans. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jay Herman

From NASA Goddard press release here

NASA scientists analyzing 30 years of satellite data have found that the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth’s surface has increased markedly over the last three decades. Most of the increase has occurred in the mid-and-high latitudes, and there’s been little or no increase in tropical regions.

The new analysis shows, for example, that at one line of latitude — 32.5 degrees — a line that runs through central Texas in the northern hemisphere and the country of Uruguay in the southern hemisphere, 305 nanometer UV levels have gone up by some 6 percent on average since 1979.

The primary culprit: decreasing levels of stratospheric ozone, a colorless gas that acts as Earth’s natural sunscreen by shielding the surface from damaging UV radiation.

The finding reinforces previous observations that show UV levels are stabilizing after countries began signing an international treaty that limited the emissions of ozone-depleting gases in 1987. The study also shows that increased cloudiness in the southern hemisphere over the 30-year period has impacted UV.

Jay Herman, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., stitched together data from several earth observing satellites — including NASA’s Aura satellite, NOAA weather satellites, and commercial satellites — to draw his conclusions. The results were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in February.

“Overall, we’re still not where we’d like to be with ozone, but we’re on the right track,” said Jay Herman. “We do still see an increase in UV on a 30-year timescale, but it’s moderate, it could have been worse, and it appears to have leveled off.”

In the tropics, the increase has been minimal, but in the mid-latitudes it has been more obvious. During the summer, for example, UV has increased by more than 20 percent in Patagonia and the southern portions of South America. It has risen by nearly 10 percent in Buenos Aires, a city that’s about the same distance from the equator as Little Rock, Ark. At Washington, D.C.’s latitude — about 35 degrees north — UV has increased by about 9 percent since 1979.

The southern hemisphere tends to have more UV exposure because of the ozone hole, a seasonal depletion of the ozone layer centered on the South Pole. There are also fewer particles of air pollution — which help block UV — due to the comparatively small numbers of people who live in the southern hemisphere.

Despite the overall increases, there are clear signs that ultraviolet radiation levels are on the verge of falling. Herman’s analysis, which is in agreement with a World Meteorological Report published in recent years, shows that decreases in ozone and corresponding increases in UV irradiance leveled off in the mid-nineties.

https://i1.wp.com/www.nasa.gov/images/content/433980main_Monthy-change-305-Full.jpg

The largest increases in UV (shown in white, red, orange, and yellow) have occurred in the southern hemisphere during summers. In the tropics, increases in UV have been minimal (shown in blue). Though the size of UV wavelengths ranges from 290 to 400 nanometers, 305 nanometer UV is one of the most damaging types for humans. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Jay Herman

The Many Sides of Radiation

Shorter ultraviolet wavelengths of light contain more energy than the infrared or visible portions of sunlight that reach Earth’s surface. Because of this, UV photons can break atmospheric chemical bonds and cause complex health effects.

Longer wavelengths (from 320 to 400 nanometers) — called UV-A — cause sunburn and cataracts. Yet, UV-A can also improve health by spurring the production of Vitamin D, a substance that’s critical for calcium absorption in bones and that helps stave off a variety of chronic diseases.

UV-B, which has slightly shorter wavelengths (from 320 to 290 nanometers), damages DNA by tangling and distorting its ladder-like structure, causing a range of health problems such as skin cancer and diseases affecting the immune system.

As part of his study, Herman developed a mathematical technique to quantify the biological impacts of UV exposure. He examined and calculated how changing levels of ozone and ultraviolet irradiance affect life. For Greenbelt, Md., for example, he calculated that a 7 percent increase in UV yielded a 4.4 percent increase in the damage to skin, a 4.8 percent increase in damage to DNA, a 5 percent increase in Vitamin D production, and less than a percent of increase in plant growth.

“If you go to the beach these days, you’re at slightly higher risk of getting skin cancer (without protection),” Herman said, though he noted the risk would have been even greater in the absence of regulations on ozone-depleting substances.

Last year, one of Herman’s Goddard colleagues, Paul Newman, published a study showing that the ozone hole likely would have become a year-round fixture and UV radiation would increase 650 percent by 2065 in mid-latitude cities if not for the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1987 that limited the amount of ozone-depleting gases countries could emit.

Clouds and Hemispheric Dimming

In addition to analyzing ozone and ultraviolet trends, Herman also used satellite data to study whether changes in cloudiness have affected UV trends. To his surprise, he found that increased cloudiness in the southern hemisphere produced a dimming effect that increased the shielding from UV compared to previous years.

In the higher latitudes especially, he detected a slight reduction — typically of 2 to 4 percent — in the amount of UV passing through the atmosphere and reaching the surface due to clouds. “It’s not a large amount, but it’s intriguing,” Herman said. “We aren’t sure what’s behind it yet.”

Vitali Fioletov, a Canadian scientist and member of the World Meteorological Organization’s advisory group on ultraviolet radiation, agreed that Herman’s findings about cloudiness warrant additional investigation. “I found the cloud effects on the global scale to be the most interesting aspect of the study,” he said. “This isn’t something you could see without satellites.”

Herman synthesized measurements from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) aboard Nimbus 7 and Earth Probe, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite, NASA’s Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-view sensor (SeaWiFS) on the commercial SeaStar satellite, and the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Instrument (SBUV) on several polar orbiting NOAA weather satellites.

Related Links:

Global increase in UV irradiance during the past 30 years (1979–2008) estimated from satellite data
› www.agu.org/pubs/…

h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard

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117 thoughts on “Sat tracking of ultraviolet light shows increase since 1979

  1. Since most of the freon was produced and released in the Northern Hemisphere, why has the Southern Hemisphere seen the greatest effect?

  2. Clouds
    They reduce Uv radiation. But the article begins with an emphasis on ozone. How about the thousands of lightning strikes ever 24 hours on this planet that create ozone. What about the dry copiers and printers in offices that create ozone.

    How about the wind turbine blades that are made without UV inhibitors and will break down with ultraviolet degradation?

  3. “It’s not a large amount, but it’s intriguing,” Herman said. “We aren’t sure what’s behind it yet.”

    “I found the cloud effects on the global scale to be the most interesting aspect of the study,” he said. “This isn’t something you could see without satellites.”

    The science is, of course, still settled.

    Doesn’t this link to solar cycles being powerful until recently?

  4. ” at one line of latitude — 32.5 degrees — a line that runs through central Texas in the northern hemisphere and the country of Uruguay in the southern hemisphere..” (second paragraph)

    You are mixing up latitude and longitude here, latitude lines do not run through both hemispheres. Please correct.

    [Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]

  5. One thing straight off the bat … what is the actual amount of the change, and not the percent? If one factors in latitude (lower effective solar angle at higher latitude), the percent changes may be larger at high latitudes, but what’s the real magnitude of the absolute changes? Moreover, the geographic area also plays a role … so that we end up with higher percentage changes in UV levels, but in areas with low solar angles and over much smaller areas of land. The graphical contours over the tropical latitudes (plus/minus 2.5%) … are those midpoints? Greater-than contours?

    These are questions to ask, because I really distrust graphics like this as it is too easy to make it appear more dramatic than it is. Or perhaps this one is OK … I would just like to know.

  6. “Last year, one of Herman’s Goddard colleagues, Paul Newman, published a study showing that the ozone hole likely would have become a year-round fixture and UV radiation would increase 650 percent by 2065 in mid-latitude cities if not for the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1987 that limited the amount of ozone-depleting gases countries could emit.”

    Let me go on record as being skeptical of that claim.

    As for the observations… if the readings hold up (no drifting, coverage, etc), I think it’s a great addition to science.

    As for the interpretations and projections… let the arguments begin!

  7. WASHINGTON — It may sound far-fetched, but federal regulators are studying whether sudden acceleration in Toyotas is linked to “cosmic rays”.

    Radiation from space long has affected airplanes and spacecraft, and is known for triggering errors in computer systems, but has received scant attention in the auto industry.

    The questions show how deep regulators and automakers may have to dig to solve the mysteries of sudden acceleration. Toyota says it is fixing mechanical problems — floor mats and sticky pedals — that explain sudden acceleration in 13 models totaling 5.6 million vehicles.

    Isn’t James Hansen the astrophysicist?

  8. So we analyse satellite measurements of atmospheric conditions and gases to model what radiation would be measured at ground level?

    Smells from herring.

  9. Leif Svalgaard (08:26:59) :
    The largest increases in UV (shown in white, red, orange, and yellow) have occurred in the southern hemisphere during summers.

    During winters….

  10. It sure would be interesting to see the time scaled changes verse the end point averages. Then see how that maps to albeto and temp change.

  11. “Since most of the freon was produced and released in the Northern Hemisphere, why has the Southern Hemisphere seen the greatest effect?”

    Perhaps because the annual South Pole Ozone Hole is much larger than the annual North Pole Ozone Hole.

  12. This is interesting!

    What impact, if any, does this increase in UV radiation have on the warming we have experienced since 1978?

    It would be interesting to know if some fraction of the warming since 1978 was due to this UV radiation increase – and therefore not due to CO2 or carbon black or land use change or methane or . . .

    Also – does UV radiation have more of an impact on urban areas? Absorbed better by asphalt or concrete? Or is all radiation (visible light etc.) pretty much the same.

  13. This may come as a shock to Jay Herman but June when the ozone peaks is winter in the southern hemisphere. Even in NZ (35°-50°S), very few people are on the beach at that time. Skfield maybe but not much flesh is exposed.
    If NASA can’t get a basic fact like this right, what hope have we?

  14. I’ve always heard about the change in exposure. Does anyone know what the exposure is in absolute terms? Was the southern hemisphere previously less exposed than the northern? Any proxies for long-term reconstruction?

  15. This is very interesting. I agree with the need to better understand the effect of clouds. One aspect of the article puzzles me a bit however. All kinds of percentages were given but few absolute values, i.e. the data. Nor was any clear picture give of what those percentages were to mean. I strongly suspect that a small percentage increase in plant growth is far more important, has a much greater magnitude, then even a large percentage in skin cancer rate potential. Readers may wish to read my essay on data at: retreadresources.com/blog

  16. I will upgrade my sun cream to factor 20 to 30 and wear a Panama hat wherever I go!

    No serious, skin cancer is on the rise, what do I say, it’s exploding!
    I have several friends who are in their forties who receive treatment for skin cancer, nose ears, neck and I tell you it’s not a walk in the park.

    I spend a lot of time in the mountains and fairly disciplined in taking my precautions but I still get burned once in a while.

    Some times it only takes a few minutes to get a nasty burn.

    However my friends hardly ever go into the mountains.
    They spend some time at the beach each year, non of them ever spend time under a solarium but what they all have in common is that they drive cabriolet’s during the summer time. No cap, no hat, just sunglasses and the wind in your hair!
    The hours spend behind the wheel of a cabriolet can really add up and who thinks about sun protection when you’re driving a car?

    Too many people are unaware of the dangers!

  17. Henry chance, impossible! Who would the lawyers sue it it were true? Anyway I think Hansen wears a tinfoil hat most of the time so he’s not qualified.

  18. O3 filters UV, but not all
    O2 mostly lower in atmosphere than O3
    UV strikes O2 breaking the molecules up and producing O3
    O3 layer increases in size
    filtering out more UV
    resulting in less O3 production

    At top of O3 layer different UV frequencies break O3 down to O2 plus O. Left over O finds another left over O to party with.

    So… thickness of O3 layer depends on intensity variations of UV destroying O3 at top, and rate of production of Ozone at bottom production going up in a thin ozone layer, and going down in a thick one, maintaining it at a reasonably constant thickness.

    But at the poles sun’s radiance is steeply inclined so destruction rates fall, but production rates fall further. Hence a depression or “hole” appears. The arctic depression is smaller than the antarctic depression because the arctic’s summer “recovery period” happens when earth orbit is closest to sun, hence stronger rays and the antarctis further, hence less recovery when incliniation to the sun favours additional production.

    As I recall, the CFC catalyst reaction that kicks of the ozone destruction thing needs a temperature range higher than what the ozone layer is at.

    At poles

  19. OT – both Michael Mann and Judith Curry were interviewed by Discovery Magazine. Quick read has Mann callling Curry an almost skeptic. Only Discovery magazine would consider this a “balanced” article.

    Jay

    (engineering is more fun!)

  20. There is no ozone hole.

    There is no zone in the ozone layer devoid of ozone. The layer is thinner in the poles, but it is not without any trace of ozone, which is what street people understand as “a hole”

    Ozone is created in the stratosphere when highly energetic solar rays strike molecules of oxygen (O2) and cause the two oxygen atoms to split apart. If a freed atom bumps into another O2, it joins up, forming ozone (O3). The poles receive less quantity of highly energetic solar rays, that is one of the reasons why the ozone layer is thinner in the poles, and unless somebody demonstrates otherwise, it has been always that way.

  21. I thought that the Man-made ozone hole theory had hit a snag.

    Reaction data of crucial chloride compounds called into question.

    As the world marks 20 years since the introduction of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer, Nature has learned of experimental data that threaten to shatter established theories of ozone chemistry. If the data are right, scientists will have to rethink their understanding of how ozone holes are formed and how that relates to climate change

    http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070924/full/449382a.html

  22. “theoldhogger (09:17:24) :
    What the hell is a Cabriolet?! Some kind of goofy French car?”

    A car with soft retractable roof.

  23. I blame crime scene investigators. They’ve been shining UV all over the place looking for rouge sperm.

  24. I suppose this should cause me some concern, but since it comes from the crackpot organization NASA, it is probably another load of unsubstantiated, biased BS. So I will ignore it until I hear about it from a reputable source, (which probably doesn’t exist).

  25. Jones says that the earth stopped warming in the mid-1990s, which is also described as the date when UV stopped increasing.

    Is it possible that the amount of sunshine received affects the earth’s temperature?

  26. @theoldhogger: cabriolet is the European name for a convertible…

    It even is an English word (not American). Hope that helps.

    Pjotr

  27. RichieP said:
    “Are we all going to die then?”

    Answer: Yes, every one reading this will die…some day.

    More to the point, the damage done to the ozone layer was serious, did increase UV, but we caught it in time and did something about it. It did prove that humans can both cause and solve problems on a global scale. In as much as AGW is a problem, hope can be found in this example.

  28. Fun fact – the UV rays that cause cancer also promote the production of Vitamin D, which some researchers now believe has a cancer-preventative effect. Unfortunately, many of the sunscreen products on the market block only half the UV rays (then ones that cause sunburn and promote Vitamin D production), allowing the remaining UV rays (that still cause genetic errors and thus cancer) to get through! As such, you might be better off not using any sunscreen at all!

    (FYI there is a discrepancy between this article and Wikipedia – Wikipedia claims that it’s UV-B that creates Vitamin D, this article claims it’s UV-A. Other Internet sources seem to support Wikipedia, can someone fact-check the “The Many Sides of Radiation” section?)

  29. Leif Svalgaard (08:27:43) :
    Leif Svalgaard (08:26:59) :
    The largest increases in UV (shown in white, red, orange, and yellow) have occurred in the southern hemisphere during summers.

    During winters….

  30. Henry chance (08:15:54) :
    WASHINGTON — It may sound far-fetched, but federal regulators are studying whether sudden acceleration in Toyotas is linked to “cosmic rays”.
    That is true regarding micro-chips, one single CR changes several bits of input or output bites.
    Cell phones’ chips are good detectors also.

  31. We should remember that Ozone and Hydogen nucleii (protons) can react to form water:
    To his surprise, he found that increased cloudiness in the southern hemisphere

  32. theoldhogger (09:17:24) :

    “What the hell is a Cabriolet?! Some kind of goofy French car?”

    A topless car?

  33. RichieP (08:08:38) :

    Are we all going to die then?
    Actually the length of our life is surely conditioned by cosmic radiation, as its average correlates with the length of the Gleissberg cycle.

  34. If UV is more energetic than the reflected IR and visible light and if UV increased – wouldn’t that cause an energy “imbalance” between incoming and outgoing energy?
    An imbalance that could be mistaken for increased greenhouse effect?
    Or am I just confused? :)

  35. Steve Goddard (09:45:38) : Now don’t you start that could it be the Sun, you know it will upset Leif.
    I thought someone mentioned UV’s Contribution on one of the previous Threads.

  36. The new analysis shows, for example, that at one line of longitude — 32.5 degrees — a line that runs through central Texas in the northern hemisphere and the country of Uruguay in the southern hemisphere, 305 nanometer UV levels have gone up by some 6 percent on average since 1979.

    Not fixed! 32.5 degrees North latitude runs through central Texas; 32.5 degrees South latitude runs through Uruguay.

    Texas and Uruguay don’t share any longitudes. Uruguay is entirely (hundreds of miles) east of any point in the United States.

  37. They start of talking ofsatellite data, but then discuss surface UV levels. I think a little more explroation is in order. How has the Sun’s UV output varied over this period?

  38. So, UV increased over the last 30 odd years, than in the last few years cloudiness has increased to counter it. If ozone changes are primarily driven by the solar cycle as some now believe, this could further support a number of theories about solar activity heating (and now cooling) the climate.

    What interests me in the IPCC in their circular logic is that they blame 100% of the warming over the last 30 years on man – but this suggest it was due to an increase in incoming solar energy (which can still be blamed on man by some, CFC’s, reduction of black soot etc…) but what it does show is co2 may have played much less of a role than they claim – infact I wonder how much w/m2 increase that is due to UV, and if co2 can account for anything with this data? The recent increase in cloudiness is also evidence of a negative feeback to control warming, and counters the IPCC theory of strong positive feedbacks

  39. I ask for an indulgence here (It is ozone related)— Everyone seems focused on climate change and EPA is using this opportunity to release new and very costly ground level ozone regulations. The largest source of ground level ozone precursors are soil bacteria NOx and isoprenes from trees. Energy related emissions and local climate are considerations in urban areas however what EPA is trying to do is to remove any context by which urban and “natural” ground level ozone may be compared. Ground level ozone levels in many of our national forests will exceed EPAs new standards– to avoid this inconvenient fact EPA will not monitor for ozone where natural background levels will exceed standards— and as such all ozone violations are anthropogenic. It is a time proven EPA strategy. And the next time someone says we need to plant trees in urban areas to reduce CO2 — ask them about the increase in tree smog from isoprenes.

  40. Apart from the suspect use of satellites to record UV at the surface (as someone else has noted above) this is an “Average” again. Like Global temperature, such averages are highly suspect.

    Ozone hasn’t increased uniformly since 1979, but goes through a highly variable annual cycle, and also varies with the solar cycle.

    Its the sort of research produced by social scientists, who treat scientific data like consumer preferences!

  41. Re: R. Gates (Mar 17 09:52),

    More to the point, the damage done to the ozone layer was serious, did increase UV, but we caught it in time and did something about it. It did prove that humans can both cause and solve problems on a global scale. In as much as AGW is a problem, hope can be found in this example.

    R. Gates,
    The difference is that the “precautionary principle” applied to CFC use was not remotely as expensive and disruptive as the proposed CO2 emission reductions. I think the real lesson comes from the AGW fiasco and the destruction of trust in the scientific process. When AGW is put to rest, one way or another, it might be worth revisiting the CFC/ozone thing. In retrospect, the CFC scare looks too much like a practice run for the main event, climate change.

  42. 1. How did they measure UV levels? Did they actually measure them at ground level, just infer them from satellite-measured ozone levels, or make them up on the spot?

    2. As usual, mankind has been blamed, this time for what might be natural cyclical changes in ozone concentration. Has there ever been a direct measurement of Freon-12 molecules in the ozone layer?

  43. And then we have the usual question!

    How does the ozone holes history look like?? This is thirty years…only.
    The curve say what? Maby its lower than ever or…higher than ever!
    Who knows?? Nobody!!!

  44. It should be noted that you can offset the increase in UV by moving a few dozen kilometers polewards as long as you avoid the southern hemisphere ozone hole. The closer you get to the poles, the lower the UV insolation because UV doesn’t make it unscattered through many kilometers of atmosphere. That’s why Germany or southern Canada have a practically UV-free winter; you won’t produce any Vitamin D on winter days even when there are no clouds. Björn Lomborg has numbers on this in “The Skeptical Environmentalist” but i don’t have my copy at hand.

    This is also the reason why fair skinned people developed in northern countries; they are better in absorbing UV. So when determining your optimal habitat, take your complexion into account.

  45. Slabadang> How does the ozone holes history look like?? This is thirty years…only. The curve say what? Maby its lower than ever or…higher than ever!
    Who knows?? Nobody!!!

    I bet Michael Mann could produce a 2000 year graph of the ozone hole’s history based upon a single tree in his back yard.

  46. Doesn’t uv heat ozone? When ozone levels were dropping, wouldn’t it make sense for more uv to make it through the stratosphere to the earth’s surface? As ozone replenished in recent years, wouldn’t that decrease the amount of uv that gets to the surface of the earth?

  47. I suspect that total UV rays energy isn’t sufficient to cause significant warming, but it has enough impact to cause increase rate of the skin cancer occurrences. If so, it would also affect phytoplankton, as I suggested some time ago. Ana pointed out that phytoplankton indeed has a mechanism to fight back. However this may not be efficient enough if increase is above normal (evolution mechanisms are slow to develop).
    There also may be a side effect to this phenomena, if plankton is sterilised or even destroyed (result is the same), than transparency of the ocean surface layers (where phytoplankton can normally would be found, would be increased.
    Incoming TSI of 1365 W/m^2 instead of being absorbed in the few feet at the top (where the plankton reduces transparency) and proportion of it radiated back into air, it may penetrate good number of meters further down, less heath in the surface, more further down, consequently the loss due to radiation back into space will be reduced, more heath retained in the oceans.
    Does this make sense?

  48. I am deeply suspicious. If you look at the Antarctic ozone ‘hole’ data:

    http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html

    it appears that signing the Montreal Protocol in 1990 was already too late. The ozone ‘hole’ had already reached nearly 20Mkm^2 in 1987 – not far off the 20-25Mkm^2 it has been for the last 20 years.

    Don Keiller (09:37:41) already mentioned that there may be a problem with the assumed cause of the ‘hole’.

    I think the NASA report may have more to do with attempting to show that international action can solve ‘global’ problems – like R. Gates (09:52:36) seems to think it can.

    Call me skeptical but I don’t think the Montreal Protocol had any, or will have any, effect on the Antarctic ozone ‘hole’.

  49. I am confused by the wording of the press release. UV goes up and the culprit is decreasing levels of stratospheric ozone and then the rest seems to say we’re on the right track.

    We’ve discussed the “ozone hole” here before. One of the largest holes ever was just a few years ago – have a look at the largest ozone hole ever observed – on 24 September 2006.
    http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/daily.php?date=2006-09-24

    And the same sorts of bad science was going on back when this issue was the scare of the week:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/13749/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    But, of course, the science is settled.

  50. R. Gates
    Acid Rain was the “practice run” for climate change. It relied on models based on erroneous assumptions. It named the crisis after a natural phenomena-as all rain is by definition acid. It perfected the art of using the MSM to scare the wits out of the public. It perfected the art of smearing any scientist with the temerity to question the model assumptions (ex Ed Krug)

    Unlike climate change the government’s own report (NAPAP) said the damages associated with acid rain were overblown. Because of the reports conclusion that acid rain was not a crisis- EPA refused to allow the report to be released until AFTER Congress voted on the legislation. (And good luck finding a copy of the final NAPAP report on-line) Science was not a consideration by either EPA or Congress then and it is not a consideration now. I’m unsure how we hope to have science adjudicate climate science when it died during acid rain.

    We are now 20 years down the road from the acid rain crisis and there has been no material improvement in surface water pH as promised by the models. And there has been few voices heard asking EPA why the acid models failed so miserably yet climate models are to be believed implicitly.

    Most the causation/ correlation links made to support the acid rain models are now being used to support the climate change models. Forests are now dead because of insect infestation caused by climate change– the same forests that 20 years ago were wilting from acid rain. Atlantic salmon are declining because of elevated temperature and twenty years ago from acidity. Surface water pH has failed to improve despite SO2 controls because increased temperatures stimulating the production of excess organic acids– the same natural organic acids that Ed Krug was smeared for saying created the natural acid conditions of most acidic waters in the US. Academic chemists that blamed everything on acid rain now get to blame the same things on climate change- talk about your renewable resource.

    Climate change is simply the most recent incarnation of a very corrupt system. A system that in the near term seems to be impervious to science.

  51. Slartibartfast (11:41:36) :

    Not fixed! 32.5 degrees North latitude runs through central Texas; 32.5 degrees South latitude runs through Uruguay.

    Texas and Uruguay don’t share any longitudes. Uruguay is entirely (hundreds of miles) east of any point in the United States.
    ————-
    Quite true.

    The original NASA news release should have said:
    The new analysis shows, for example, that at one value of latitude
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/uv-exposure.html

    Each value of latitude has two circles on the globe (except 0 deg – one, the equator – and 90 deg – two points ). For example, the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer both have the same latitude values – 23º 26′ 17″.

    It looks like the UV effect is basically symmetrical about the equator, until you start getting to high latitude southern values, and encounter the ozone hole over Antarctica.

    Anyway, regulating human activities because they are affecting the global atmosphere – that’s just crazy talk. Humans have no effect whatsoever on the global atmosphere.

  52. Leif Svalgaard (10:09:12) :
    Leif Svalgaard (08:27:43) :
    Leif Svalgaard (08:26:59) :
    The largest increases in UV (shown in white, red, orange, and yellow) have occurred in the southern hemisphere during summers.

    During winters….

    It’s from NASA Dr Svalgaard.

    “From NASA Goddard press release here”

    Why would you expect anything to be correct (Mars lander anyone? Hubble..)?

  53. A simple question.
    How do we know the ‘ozone hole’ wasn’t there before we detected it? Or that it was there always?

  54. Enacting the Montreal Protocol was SO important because of the longevity of CFCs in the atmosphere. It was explained to all of us who enjoyed cheap freon that we must give it up right away to ‘save our children’, because it would take 50 years just to start to see an improvement.

    Therefore, if CFCs really were responsible for stratospheric ozone depletion, there is no way that the depletion would have stabilized in the mid 1990s!

    To proclaim that the Montreal Protocol resulted in the stabilization of the ozone layer is a lie. There were more CFCs in the atmosphere in the mid 1990s than there were in the late 1980s. Obviously, something else is controlling the concentration of stratospheric ozone. It is very likely a natural cycle.

    Of course, the banning of CFCs made air-conditioning and refrigeration less efficient, causing us to burn more fossil fuels for the same amount of cooling, releasing more CO2!

    Dupont made a fortune selling less efficient, more expensive coolants in the 1990s. They weren’t making hardly anything selling freon. Dupont was the major benefactor from the Montreal Protocol. The rest of us paid more for no measurable gain. Skin cancers are still on the rise despite the stable ozone from the mid 1990’s. Again, there are other factors involved that the grant seeking scientists refuse to mention.

    Finally,

    As I understand it, a decrease of about 6% in the stratospheric ozone layer has an equivalent health effect as moving about 80-100 miles closer to the equator. If this is such a major health issue, shouldn’t we force people to move north, in addition to banning CFCs? Certainly, moving south or to a higher elevation should be expressly forbidden. Think of the children!

  55. R. Gates (09:52:36) :

    More to the point, the damage done to the ozone layer was serious, did increase UV, but we caught it in time and did something about it. It did prove that humans can both cause and solve problems on a global scale.

    Oh, utter self-serving BS. The so-called ozone hole is there always, varying according to the Sun. It is not caused by humans and has not been solved by humans. IT IS PERFECTLY NATURAL.

  56. John Galt (10:46:33) :

    Are we all going to die then?

    Yes. Each and every one of us.

    But in 1000 years, maybe not. We are learning more and developing technology all the time. Now, if we can avoid the death of politicised science, then progress will continue.

  57. Didn’t that scientific wonder, Sue Solomon, spend about 6 months amongst the penguins (I feel bad for them) at McMurdo to come home and conclude that Polar Stratospheric Clouds are the reason CFC are destroying the ozone layer and not elsewhere?

    Is there some atmospheric phenomena making PSC appear in the Tropics?

    The whole thing was a colossal fraud, now Sue is on the leading edge of perpetrating another with CO2

    Rowland won a Nobel prize for coming up with the “mechanism” for CFC and ozone depletion. Nobody has reproduced this in a lab! Think about that – this is equivalent to Fleishman and Pons winning a Nobel for cold fusion and nobody can reproduce this

  58. Read maybe 10 years ago that the Ozone depletion/ hole was first detected back in 1958 the International Geophysical Year. (The first one) and that it was a natural occurrence….
    Anyone know about this?…

  59. Well, if there was a connection between UV and the small amount of warming (after correcting for UHI and decimation of the sensor populatoin), it would explain that the observation that the temperature increase is highest toward the poles, just where the UV change is the highest.

  60. Urederra (09:12:20) :

    There is no ozone hole. […]

    I seem to basically agree. Do you by chance know if the difference of north to south ratio is magnetic field related or not? I can’t imagine anything else.

    If you do, and even better, do you also know how the magnetic field affects the incoming highly energetic solar rays (particles) to keep even more from the south pole? Possibly positive charged energetic particles (H+ He++) curved toward north pole but away from the south pole?

    Or is that way off base?

  61. WASHINGTON — It may sound far-fetched, but federal regulators are studying whether sudden acceleration in Toyotas is linked to “cosmic rays”.
    This sounds like a repeat of the 64k DRAM problem, which was solved by adding additional coatings to integrated circuits to fight off stray alpha particles.

  62. The ozone hole existed before CFC’s. It was first reported using weather ballons, and then expanded when satellites could do the job. No one knows the extent of the antartic ozone hole was in 1900, for example. Cargo cult science at its finest.

  63. “wayne (18:44:05) :

    Do you by chance know if the difference of north to south ratio is magnetic field related or not? I can’t imagine anything else.?”

    I have no idea. But davidmhoffer (09:07:11) : seems to have a plausible explanation. (it is actually 2 posts over mine, so I didn’t see his post because it must had been awaiting moderation when I was typing mine. Here it is again:

    “O3 filters UV, but not all
    O2 mostly lower in atmosphere than O3
    UV strikes O2 breaking the molecules up and producing O3
    O3 layer increases in size
    filtering out more UV
    resulting in less O3 production

    At top of O3 layer different UV frequencies break O3 down to O2 plus O. Left over O finds another left over O to party with.

    So… thickness of O3 layer depends on intensity variations of UV destroying O3 at top, and rate of production of Ozone at bottom production going up in a thin ozone layer, and going down in a thick one, maintaining it at a reasonably constant thickness.

    But at the poles sun’s radiance is steeply inclined so destruction rates fall, but production rates fall further. Hence a depression or “hole” appears. [b]The arctic depression is smaller than the antarctic depression because the arctic’s summer “recovery period” happens when earth orbit is closest to sun, hence stronger rays and the antarctis further, hence less recovery when incliniation to the sun favours additional production.[/b]

    As I recall, the CFC catalyst reaction that kicks of the ozone destruction thing needs a temperature range higher than what the ozone layer is at.

    At poles”

  64. Urederra (19:31:31) : Thanks to you and David, very interesting explanation. Modulated by the elliptic orbit and axis tilt relation. That would mean very long cycle time. Physics never ceases to amaze!

  65. Pat Moffitt:

    Great posts, on both the ozone issue and the “acid rain” bs that some of my environmental friends always like to cite when they talk about how “cap and trade” worked to reduce SO2 in the Northeast (at great cost, I might add, on electric bills), so it should work for CO2.

    Background levels of ozone, even here in Texas, can range from 55 to 60 ppb because of plant VOC emissions as well as the other phenomenon you cited. So I have no idea where EPA gets off thinking they are going to save the country from this problem. It’s just another device for control of the world.

  66. Robert Austin said:

    “CFC scare looks too much like a practice run for the main event, climate change…”

    Sorry, this is too grassy knoll for me. Since I personally know several scientists in the climate research field and know how dedicated they are, and have been since their undergraduate days, I simply don’t accept a conspiracy notion. Yes, there are a very few who are trying to capitalize on the AGW hypothesis (or hype, if you prefer), but for every one of those, there are 100 or even 1,000 honest researchers who meticulously gather data, record it, have their findings peer reviewed, and then publish. This is probably what turns me off the most about AGW skeptics…too much distrust, when only a little skepticism and “prove it to me” attitude is required and even necessary to keep the science honest throughout. Hence I am 75% convinced the AGWT is correct, and a 25% skeptic. This 25% drives my climate research friends crazy, as I am always asking questions, but in addition to making them ticked off at my stupid questions, I at least hope it makes them take an occasional brief moment to consider other interpretations of their data though they never waiver from being 95 to 99% certain that AGWT is correct. But I do sense that many skeptics are 100% certain that AGWT is incorrect, and this kind of certainty scares me even more…

  67. How do we know the ‘ozone hole’ wasn’t there before we detected it? Or that it was there always?

    Because people in New Zealand get sunburned in 20 minutes. That was not the case 30 years or more ago.

    To anyone who denies that it is worse now than in the past I have a challenge. Fly to New Zealand and do a couple of hours work in my garden with your shirt off without sunblock. After we get you back out of the hospital you won’t want to talk about “there’s no ozone hole”.

    NZ has lots of climate sceptics, but we have few or no ozone-hole sceptics. I have never met or heard from one. It is too much part of our daily lives. It would be like denying that it ever rains.

    I also doubt that it was ever part of our history prior to 1980’s. The Maori did not wear hats, which pretty much clinches it.

    @Henry Chance

    How about the thousands of lightning strikes ever 24 hours on this planet that create ozone. What about the dry copiers and printers in offices that create ozone.

    This is not scepticism. It is not bothering to learn even basic chemical facts before you spout.

    Ozone is unstable, so any produced at ground level breaks down well before it reaches the top layers – otherwise NZ would make tons of it.

    Natural processes can produce ozone, which is why we have some in the upper atmosphere, rather than none.

    Something new in the system is causing it to break down faster than usual. If you think it is a natural process, then you really need to find the cause. Until you can find a better cause, CFCs seem to fit the bill.

  68. Leif Svalgaard (10:09:12) :

    The largest increases in UV (shown in white, red, orange, and yellow) have occurred in the southern hemisphere during summers.

    During winters….

    Not quite eg McKenzie et al 2006

    UV measurements from instruments maintained by USDA at 16 mid-latitude sites were analysed to
    investigate geographic differences. Fifteen of the sites are in North America, and one is in New
    Zealand. The instruments measure erythemally weighted UV radiation, and the results are presented in
    terms of UV Index (UVI). The focus of this work is on data from 2003, but the main results are also
    shown for years 2002 and 2004. In the North American sites, the peak UVI values increase by ∼15%
    between latitudes 47◦ N and 40◦ N, and they show an increase with altitude of ∼15% in the first
    kilometer, but much smaller rates of increase above that level. Peak UV intensities in the New Zealand
    site (45◦ S, alt. 0.37 km) exceed those at comparable latitudes and altitudes in North America by
    41 ± 5%, and are more comparable with those over 1 km higher and 5 degrees closer to the equator.
    The number of observations on these days that exceeded various thresholds of UVI showed similar patterns. Furthermore, the number of days in which the peak values exceeded various thresholds also showed similar patterns, with the number of extreme values in New Zealand being anomalously high.For example, the only sites in North America where UVI exceeded 12 were at the high altitude sites in Colorado and Utah, for which there were 53 days, 6 days and 2 days respectively at the 3.2 km, 1.6 and 1.4 km sites. By contrast, the peak UVI at Lauder (0.37 km) exceeded 12 on 17 days. Lauder was the only site under 1 km altitude where the UVI exceeded 11 on a regular basis (48 days). The optical depths at Lauder were significantly lower than at all North American sites. These, together with the
    lower ozone amounts and the closer Earth–Sun separation in summer all contribute to the relatively high UV intensities at the New Zealand site. Other sites in New Zealand show similar increases compared with corresponding sites in North America, and the differences persist from year to year. The contrast in UV between New Zealand and North America is similar to that observed previously between New Zealand and Europe. During winter months, the UVI in New Zealand is not particularly high, giving a larger summer/winter contrast in UVI, which may be important from a health perspective.

  69. Hello from the southern hemisphere!

    Totally agree Mooloo, its the same in Australia. I regularly holiday in Europe, and I can tell you, there is a big difference in UV radiation between northern and southern hemisphere.

    You can’t walk around anymore in Australia for more than a few minutes without 30+ sunscreen in an Australian summer… however it certainly isn’t a problem on the Mediterranean where you can get away with light/no protection most of the time.

    Just because some climate research is dodgy and being a skeptic is now ‘in vogue’ doesn’t mean everyone who reads this site has to become flat earthers and reject every study that comes out. Seriously, some of the comments here look as stupid as some made by the fanatical alarmists.

  70. Wake up, people.

    Ozone is CREATED by UV, in which process UV is absorbed and converted to heat. Life on surface of Earth is safe from UV destruction as long as there is oxygen in atmosphere.

    From Wikipedia:

    “Ozone is formed in the stratosphere when oxygen molecules photodissociate after absorbing an ultraviolet photon whose wavelength is shorter than 240 nm. This produces two oxygen atoms. The atomic oxygen then combines with O2 to create O3. Ozone molecules absorb UV light between 310 and 200 nm, following which ozone splits into a molecule of O2 and an oxygen atom. The oxygen atom then joins up with an oxygen molecule to regenerate ozone. This is a continuing process which terminates when an oxygen atom “recombines” with an ozone molecule to make two O2 molecules: O + O3 → 2 O2
    The overall amount of ozone in the stratosphere is determined by a balance between photochemical production and recombination.”

    Ozone hole over Antarctica appears every Antarctic winter for simple reason that Sun does not shine in polar winter (ozone in Arctic region during winter does not disappear because of air transport from temperate zone). And there is no UV at Earth surface under ozone hole – because, sorry, Sun does not shine in this time and location.

  71. TSI:

    There are those that claim it varies very little.

    (And the Sun has little or nothing to do with climate change.)

    But those that claim the above, apparently don’t dispute the observation & measurements that show ultraviolet radiation does vary greatly and per this study, dove-tail nicely with temperature trends.

    It’s the Sun…stupid.

    Even if you can manipulate historical statistics to say anything you want them to say:

    (I understand computer programmers are very good at manipulating statistics.)

    Mark Twain: “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

    Things haven’t changed much have they?

  72. I asked a simple question.
    “How do we know the ‘ozone hole’ wasn’t there before we detected it? Or that it was there always?”
    Two replies with insults!
    So let’s start again. Instead of anecdotal references to sun-burn, answer the question. Note that it was first detected in 1956 and mapped in detail afterwards.
    As a geologist, my problem is the short time scale of measurement. A recent paper questioned ozone chemistry as it is promulgated. http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070924/full/449382a.html
    Do we know the whole story yet?

  73. I might disagree with the UV strength in Australia vs Europe. I spend a lot of time in the sun, and build up a fair tan in spring, ready for the summer when it gets harsh. What I try to do is never burn. I figure if I do not burn, the effect is minimal. I may be wrong there, but I am pretty certain almost nobody knows, and it makes a lot of sense to me.

    I also have completely unproven feeling that sun block allows you to stay in the sun longer without burning and actually causes problems from some of the things it lets through, as well as the false sense of security it provides.

    When I go to Italy, which I tend to every year (my mother lives there) in July, I often get a burn if we stay in the sun too long. The difference is I have less of a tan at that point, and I am only there for a week or so which is not time to build one up.

    Now factor in the fact that mid Italy is about the same latitude as Tasmania or even New Zealand, and I think you may see why the sun is a bit stronger in most of Australia – it’s nearer the equator.

    Perhaps NZ is much more affected, by the ozone depletion however.

    Forget Northern Europe – that is just a cold wasteland that hardly sees the sun!

    Biggest two causes of skin cancer in my belief:

    1. People who do not spend time in the sun maxing out on two weeks in the sun. I’ve seen it in Malaysian islands: English people so white they hurt the eyes to look at in daylight spending hours in the midday sun – at the equator! All us sensible people were running for cover at about 10 or 11, not to emerge until 3. They were in the sun the entire time. Did they burn? Whatcha think? Like a pair of lobsters!

    2. Sun beds. My mother used to have a UV lamp at home, for ‘health’ reasons, no less. She got skin cancer (all fixed now). There are so many cases, and it makes so much sense NOT to flood your skin with harmful rays without the ‘pain response’ protection you get from being in the sun too long.

    Still, I don’t know enough about it, just observation.

  74. And I have to agree with Christian S. I have read a lot that challenges the assumption that the ozone layer used to be thicker, just like the assumption that it used to be cooler.

  75. I’ve seen it in Malaysian islands: English people so white they hurt the eyes to look at in daylight spending hours in the midday sun – at the equator!

    Mad dogs!

  76. @davidmhoffer (09:07:11) :

    O3 filters UV, but not all
    O2 mostly lower in atmosphere than O3
    UV strikes O2 breaking the molecules up and producing O3
    O3 layer increases in size
    filtering out more UV
    resulting in less O3 production
    [etcera]

    – – – – – –
    Excellent! I was aware of the Oxygen-Ozone cycle, but your explanation is the clearest I’ve ever seen. It’s interesting that at ground level, Ozone is considered pollution, but in the layer, it’s considered life saving. BTW, operation of fluorescents (including compact fluorescents) increase ground level Ozone pollution inside of buildings.

  77. R.Gates
    “Yes, there are a very few who are trying to capitalize on the AGW hypothesis (or hype, if you prefer), but for every one of those, there are 100 or even 1,000 honest researchers who meticulously gather data, record it, have their findings peer reviewed, and then publish. This is probably what turns me off the most about AGW skeptics…too much distrust, when only a little skepticism and “prove it to me” attitude is required and even necessary to keep the science honest throughout. Hence I am 75% convinced the AGWT is correct, and a 25% skeptic. This 25% drives my climate research friends crazy, as I am always asking questions, but in addition to making them ticked off at my stupid questions, I at least hope it makes them take an occasional brief moment to consider other interpretations of their data though they never waiver from being 95 to 99% certain that AGWT is correct. But I do sense that many skeptics are 100% certain that AGWT is incorrect, and this kind of certainty scares me even more…

    I think you are extrapolating a little far from your few acquaintences on both sides of the divide.

    I am a sceptic but also a physicist: so I am not 100% sure of anything!
    Moreover I have yet to meet a so called climate researcher who is a sufficiently expert physicist to be even 50% sure of what is an extraordinarily complex system. Your friends may be right in their beliefs but this would be just luck: their 95+% certainty is a delusion.

    The problem for me is that physics is based on postulating theories which can be tested by experimentation. The climate does not allow this. So we have to rely on natural variation to give us clues to the mechanisms that control it. Correlation does not prove causality so for this type of evidence to be convincing it has to be uneqivocal.

    There is no doubt that CO2 absorbs 14-18 micron radiation but, so far, I have not seen a single piece of evidence which links this effect to temperature changes in the real world. Indeed, as it has been pointed out by a host of experts on this blog already, many of the “signature” predictions, such as a warming mid troposphere, have not materialised.

    On the other hand the evidence from the ice core records clearly show that rises in temperature have previously always occured when CO2 has been relatively LOW. I believe this is just coincidence since these rapid temperature rises have been after ice ages when the CO2 is always low. But it suggests to me that there are drivers of climate far more powerful than this one even if it does exist. Until someone comes up with an explanation for the huge shifts in climate over the millenia that clearly do not involve CO2 I will find it hard to be convinced that these forces are not still active now and playing a role in what are, on any historic basis, tiny flucuations in temperature.

  78. >> R. Gates (21:54:34) :

    Robert Austin said:

    “CFC scare looks too much like a practice run for the main event, climate change…”

    Sorry, this is too grassy knoll for me. Since I personally know several scientists in the climate research field and know how dedicated they are, and have been since their undergraduate days, I simply don’t accept a conspiracy notion. <<

    The 'conspiracy' is not by the scientists, but by the politicians seeking more control over our daily lives. They demand results that will give them a reason to grab power, and are willing to pay well (out of other people's pockets) to get what they want.

    The climate scientists are the beneficiaries of this to the tune of over $2B per year. They are more like religious leaders than true scientists, because they start with AGW as a basic truth. I wouldn't claim that a priest is not dedicated, nor that he was knowingly promulgating false information. Nonetheless, it's not science when the goal is to gather evidence to support a belief and no research is done in the direction of disproof.

  79. The word ‘conspiracy’ implies too much in regards to climate change science. It implies complicity, or ‘that all of those involved are in on the scheme’, which is hardly the case. Most scientists are simply doing what comes naturally and bristle at the accusation of a conspiracy as much as climate realists bristle at the word ‘denier’.

    Research scientists need funding to do their work. Right now, almost all of that comes from government. Government, in turn, is run by politicians who need votes to keep their jobs. They get votes by convincing the voting public that they are doing something to solve problems. Consequently, if something is perceived to be a problem, research on that topic is funded. If it is not a problem, (or has no foreseeable benefit) it does not get funded very much, if at all.

    Scientists have no qualms adding words to their studies that relate their work to a ‘fundable’ topic, even if there is no correlation. For example, this site has posted a report on a study of Sequoia tree rings in which the authors state:

    “Knowing how giant sequoia trees responded to a 500-year warm spell in the past is important because scientists predict that climate change will probably subject the trees to such a warm, dry environment again…”

    The study indicates that the theory of AGW may be wrong, but the authors avoid making such statements. Instead, they tie there study to the ‘problem’ of AGW. There is no scientific reason for the above quote, only a financial one. The speculative quote is not ‘wrong’ per se, only scientifically unwarranted. Such quotes exist in almost every climate study, allowing Oreskes to conclude that the vast majority of the science supports the AGW theory, even if the science is actually disproving the theory.

    What the vast majority of research scientists support is additional funding and further employment. It is simply the way the system has been set up. It is a bad system if your goal is good science, but it is not a conspiracy.

  80. Fly to New Zealand and do a couple of hours work in my garden with your shirt off without sunblock. After we get you back out of the hospital you won’t want to talk about “there’s no ozone hole”.

    This sounds a very sciencey experiment!

  81. @Henry chance (08:15:54) :

    “WASHINGTON — It may sound far-fetched, but federal regulators are studying whether sudden acceleration in Toyotas is linked to “cosmic rays”.”

    – – – – – – –

    A bit OT – Cosmic instead of UV – but I’ll add that the cosmic particle scenario is plausible, but usually only for volatile DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory). DRAM is susceptible since each data bit is held by the charge stored in a tiny capacitor rather than in a transistor gate, and the capacitor’s state is constantly refreshed, usually at intervals in milliseconds. If a cosmic particle (which still has a high enough energy level to ionize a molecule) strikes a DRAM capacitor with a state = 1 (charged), it will ionize the dielectric, causing it to become conductive. This discharges the capacitor, possibly changing the state of the bit. It will change the bit and produce a response if the capacitor remains discharged for a long enough interval before it is refreshed. If the state = 0 (discharged) when struck, no effect. Mysterious computer freezes requiring a reboot is sometimes due to a cosmic particle strike. The cosmic particle almost never does any lasting damage, thus after the event has passed and the circuitry has been powered down then rebooted, no amount of testing can ever confirm what occurred. To be virtually immune to cosmic particles, you would need to shield the circuitry with several inches of lead (Hardly ever done on the ground except for mega-expensive installations. Even $100k lab instruments don’t bother with lead shielding). Another way of dealing with it is to build redundancy into critical circuits. That’s one reason why the Space Shuttle originally used three computers, and now uses four. Cosmic particle strikes are more likely to occur at a higher elevation than at sea level, since it’s the atmosphere that does most of the attenuation. One estimate that I’m familiar with is that a desktop computer at sea level will suffer one cosmic particle strike that causes a malfunction during an 8 month period.

  82. One of the main reasons the sun is stonger in the southern hemisphere over the summer than it is for the northern is the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit. From memory it is about 2% closer in January than June. Back in the 60s, when I lived in Canterbury, the skies were often red from the bushfires in Australia so there must have been significant pollution. I don’t know if that affected the sunburn rate.

  83. “Fly to New Zealand and do a couple of hours work in my garden with your shirt off without sunblock. After we get you back out of the hospital you won’t want to talk about “there’s no ozone hole”.”

    I moved to New Zealand 21 years ago, and I must say that my personal experience is that burn times are not as bad now as they were in the 1989-2000 period. In that period burn times were in the 15-30 minute range.

    I regularly mountain bike for 3-4 hour stretches, without either sunblock or sunburn (something I would never have attempted a few years ago).

    In the early 90’s Hawkes Bay used to get 2-4 days per summer when temperatures would hit 40 degrees C. I have not seen anything in excess of about 33 for several years now, even though there have been a number of very good weather summers.

    The current summer has not been a great one in the center of the North Island (though the far north is having a drought). In Rotorua the weather in February was wetter and cloudier than normal. However, the radio reported that the month was warmer than average, because the minimum temperatures were not as low as average. Of course, the cloud that stopped the nights cooling also prevented the days getting anywhere near as hot as normal!

    Had the measurement been based upon noon time temperatures I am sure the month would have been classed as below average.

    It got me wondering how “average” temperatures are measured in desert regions, since the clear skies mean that in a 24 hour period the temperature will go from scorching hot to almost freezing. Is it by day time temps or night time or by a combination of the two?

    I was reading a few months ago about the theory that low sunspot counts allowing cosmic radiation that causes high altitude cloud formation. If this is the case, would that cause a reduction in UV radiation reaching the surface?

  84. JER0ME (02:38:06) :

    “Biggest two causes of skin cancer in my belief:

    1. People who do not spend time in the sun maxing out on two weeks in the sun.”

    I agree completely.

    In New Zealand there is a big push each year to get people (especially children) to “slip slop slap, cover up and stay out of the sun in the hot part of the day.”

    I actually think this is making the problem worse, because people live sedentary lives, mainly indoors, and they never condition their skin to the sun, so they never allow their body to build up the natural defenses to UV.

    Because of this they are totally unprepared for those times when they do get caught out in the sun for a period without any protection (and it invariably happens).

    The people I see with sunburn are usually the ones who are habitually the most cautious, who have just got unlucky that one day (I have been in that position myself)…..

    I am not against sunscreen and taking sensible precautions. I just think that much of what is attributed to stronger UV levels is actually little more than the consequence of lifestyle changes.

  85. As an Irish redhead, I don’t tan very well. Can you protect yourself by exposing your skin to UV’s? I certainly did growing up. And then grownup life caused me to work instead of play. I was in the Sun 24/7 growing up, in high altitude, and without any kind of skin protection. Then I stayed out of the sun because there was no more play time for me. At the age of 49, I nearly lost my lip to cancer. Was it the UV exposure early on? Was it not the Sun later on? Don’t know. Anecdotal evidence belongs in jokes as the punch line, but is NOT deserving of scientific conclusions.

  86. The conspiracy theory is a bit too far in my opinion. For the most part, I believe that AGW scientists believe they are on to something, but have made the mistake of narrowing their field of vision to focus just on proving themselves right. Thus opposite opinions are not considered or used to inform their research.

    I have experienced this. I am in an unpleasant discussion with a school psych. Our opinions differ. This person holds to an immovable opinion because the person’s background is in psychometric measurement. I hold to mine because my background is cross-disciplinary. Each opinion is worth considering and I value the opposite opinion. But because my approach to evaluating a student is cross-disciplinary, I see a mismatch between IQ scores, and several of the other measurements, as well as in my observations. Therefore I need more information, which I believe is the proper way to approach what the “data” says. If there is any area of investigation that absolutely requires a skeptic’s eye to “data”, it has to be in the process of assigning disability labels to children.

  87. Pamela Gray (08:14:26) :

    The conspiracy theory is a bit too far in my opinion. For the most part, I believe that AGW scientists believe they are on to something, but have made the mistake of narrowing their field of vision to focus just on proving themselves right. Thus opposite opinions are not considered or used to inform their research.

    Dead on, IMO.

  88. Quoting from http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Education/Ozone/radiation.html

    “Ultraviolet levels are over 1,000 times higher at the equator than at the polar regions”

    For the sake of the following points lets assume an even declination in UV exposure the further north/south of the equator you go. Equator = 1000, poles = 1.

    So if you divide the lines of latitude (90) into 1000 then you get 11.11… times (1011% increase/decrease per degree N/S) the UV for every degree closer you move to the equator. Now a degree of latitude is 69 miles (111km). The distance from New York to Boston is about 200 miles (~2.89 degrees), so the UV difference between NY and Boston is roughly (2.89 X 11.111 =) 32.21 times…

    So moving south to Boston from NY is a FAR greater UV risk (3121% increase) than the 6-35% increase these characters are trying to alarm us over.

    I saw opinions above about how easily one does (or does not) char in Australia.

    Syndey AU is at 30 degrees latitude S, Paris (France) is at 48 degrees latitude N and Rome (Italy) is 41 degrees N – do the math (11 degrees difference to the equator = 122 times UV or a 12100% increase), it is a small wonder that people burn more easily in AU, they are CLOSER to the equator than the people in Europe!

    Fear mongering indeed.

    Bah! Humbug!

  89. Something about this article has been bothering me since it appeared. I finally figured out what it is.

    Where is the trend line?

    If someone tried to post the temperature in 1979 and in 2009 and draw conclusions about an “increase” this blog would be up in arms. What about the data points in between?

    Has there been a steady increase? Or exponential?
    Was there a peak at some point? If so how long ago?
    Does the trend line mirror the sun spot record? the temperature record? ozone level records?

    Since the data clearly exists by latitude, I would think that trending it by latitude would be easily accomplished. Looking at it in isolation however makes little sense. The UV emissions from the sun vary with sun spot activity. So the change since 1979 in regard to ozone is meaningless unless fluctuations in comparison to sun spots are also understood.

    (and if there is a big peak or trough in the record there might be some ‘splaining to do)

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