Did We Really Save the Ozone Layer?

Guest essay by Steve Goreham


Another year has passed and that stubborn Ozone Hole over Antarctica refuses to go away. Data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows that the Ozone Hole for the fall maximum season grew 22 percent from 2014 to 2015. World consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances has been reduced to zero over the last three decades, but the Ozone Hole is as large as ever. Did humans really save the ozone layer?

In 1974, Dr. Mario Molina and Dr. Sherwood Roland of the University of California published a paper asserting that chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) pollution from industry was destroying the ozone layer in Earth’s stratosphere. CFCs were gases used in hair spray, refrigerators, and insulating foams. The ozone layer is a layer of atmosphere located between 6 and 25 miles above the Earth’s surface.

The theory of Molina and Roland postulated that human-produced CFCs migrate upward through the atmosphere to the stratosphere, where ultraviolet radiation breaks down CFC molecules, releasing chlorine atoms. Chlorine then reacts as a catalyst to break down ozone molecules into oxygen, reducing the ozone concentration. The more CFCs used, the greater the destruction of the ozone layer, according to the theory.

In 1983, three researchers from the British Antarctic Survey discovered at thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica, which became known as the Ozone Hole. Their observations appeared to confirm the theory of Molina and Roland. Molina and Roland were awarded a Noble Prize in chemistry in 1995 for their work.

The Ozone Layer is known to block ultraviolet rays, shielding the surface of Earth from high-energy radiation. Scientists were concerned that degradation of the ozone layer would increase rates of skin cancer and cataracts and cause immune system problems in humans. Former Vice President Al Gore’s 1992 book claimed that hunters reported finding blind rabbits in Patagonia and that fishermen were catching blind fish due to human destruction of the ozone layer, but this has not been confirmed.

In an effort to save the ozone layer, 29 nations and the European Community signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in September of 1987. Over the next decade, the Protocol was universally signed by 197 nations, agreeing to ban the use of CFCs. Since 1986, world consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) is down more than 99 percent, effectively reaching zero by 2010.

The Montreal Protocol has been hailed as an international success in resolving a major environmental issue. The Protocol has been praised as an example to follow for elimination of greenhouse gas emissions in the fight to halt global warming. But despite the elimination of CFCs, the Ozone Hole remains as large as ever.

During September to October, just after the Antarctic winter, the Ozone Hole is the largest for each year. NASA recently reported that from September 7 through October 13, 2015, the Ozone Hole reached a mean area of 25.6 million kilometers, the largest area since 2006 and the fourth largest since measurements began in 1979. The hole remains large, despite the fact that world ODS consumption all but disappeared about a decade ago.


Scientists are mixed on when the stubborn Ozone Hole will disappear. NASA recently announced that the hole will be half-closed by 2020. Others forecast that it will not begin to disappear until 2040 or later. But the longer the hole persists, the greater the likelihood that the ozone layer is dominated by natural factors, not human CFC emissions.

Originally published in Communities Digital News.

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.


210 thoughts on “Did We Really Save the Ozone Layer?

  1. Is there any evidence that the ozone layer should not have a hole? It seems to me that the ozone layer was surveyed at some point in the past, then somebody decided that the hole ought not be their so “mankind was to blame”. Maybe the hole and its varying size, is an natural artifact of the earth’s make-up?.

    What was the ozone layer at the poles like 1,000,000 years ago. Anything in the ice core gas archive?

    • The Ozone layer would probably be unusually thin over Antarctica during Spring whether we contributed to making it thinner or not. Conditions are just right for it.

      Incidentally calling it a “hole” has always struck me as erroneous, since there’s still an Ozone layer there it’s just thinner than it is at slightly lower latitudes.

    • “Is there any evidence that the ozone layer should not have a hole?”

      I miss the null hypothesis, too.

    • Before the ozone hole was discovered, there was no ozone hole, so those British Antarctic Scientists looked for one and found one, so after that there was an ozone hole.

      We don’t know if there was a universe before the big bang either, as nobody had looked for one.

      But we do know that the big bang was a little bang, and it happened everywhere in the universe, all at the same time, well because everywhere in the universe was all at the same place, so it was a very little bang.

      Actually, before there was an ozone hole, it was known that the apparent (black body) color Temperature of the sun, on earth was variable. It was known to vary in a random fashion; possibly because of changing solar activity which affected the short wavelength end of the solar spectrum, at and below the spectral peak wavelength (500 nm roughly).
      But it was also known to vary seasonally, which could hardly be a result of solar variations.

      So it is (in my view) highly likely that there was evidence of ozone layer thinning, long before there was an ozone hole. Ozone absorbs solar spectrum radiation even out to the green region of the spectrum, so it definitely can affect the apparent color Temperature of the solar insolation, at the surface.

      Supposedly, the Chlorine reaction with ozone, is of a catalytic nature, so the Chlorine is ultimately released after busting up the ozone, to kill again. I would have thought that Fluorine would be a much more efficient ozone killer than Chlorine.

      At least one reputable chemist is of the opinion (and has stated so) that the ozone layer is simply evidence that the earth’s oxygen is doing its job of blocking the solar UV, and protecting life on earth.

      After all, you have to bust up the O2 molecule first to make atomic oxygen, before you can make ozone, and that takes higher energy photons to do it.

      If the ozone layer disappeared, the solar UV would propagate a little deeper into the atmosphere where there is more oxygen, and create more atomic oxygen and thus ozone.

      The solar UV that creates ozone, never does make it to the surface; only some longer wavelengths of UV get through.


      • … I would have thought that Fluorine would be a much more efficient ozone killer than Chlorine.

        I think the fluorine atom is more tightly bound to the carbon than the chlorine atoms, so they get knocked loose first. If you look at most of the annual series for each month, it seems that rather than being destroyed, the ozone just gets swept from the hole area to pile up extra densely on the periphery.

      • George, the Fluorine atoms would deplete O3 but they react with H from H2O and CH4 to form HF which is very stable. Br is even more effective than Cl but fortunately is at a lower concentration.

    • Paul,

      In the ice cores, only the recent presence of CFC’s can be measured and is used as measure of the gas age distribution (CFC’s are measured in ocean sink places too for flux/mixing measurements),
      I have no knowledge of any proxy in ice cores which depends of UV light or ozone as the latter itself is quite unstable.

      Thus it is entirely possible that the ozone hole was always there, but that it comes and goes in strength together with the upper polar atmospheric temperatures, as the main reactions are on the surface of ice crystals below -80°C under the spring sunlight…

    • The ozone hole is ill defined. NASA says that the “Ozone “Hole” is an area where the ozone concentration drops to an average of about 100 Dobson Units. ” whereas the average thickness is 300 dobson units. The definition is arbitrary and the size really depends on the cut-off concentration. Had they chosen 150 dobson units as a cutoff, the area would be bigger, Or, with no cut-off, there won’t be any hole.

    • Given the fact that Ozone has a charge and the Earth also has a charge and they’re both basically “south” in that region; we have evidence that there SHOULD be a hole

    • [quoting article]

      During September to October, just after the Antarctic winter, the Ozone Hole is the largest for each year.

      Well ….. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, …… given the fact that it requires UV radiation from the Sun to create Ozone in the upper atmosphere …… and as one can easily see via the following graphic, …… UV radiation entering the atmosphere over Antarctica starts decreasing on March 21st of each year, …… and is complete void by June 21st and doesn’t begin increasing again until September 22nd ….. thus Antarctica is in total “non-Ozone-generating” darkness for six (6) months of each year.

      Thus, the per se Ozone Hole has always been there for as long at the earth has been tilted on it axis as it is today.

      • Cogar:
        Some other things to consider: Most ozone is produced in the tropics and moves pole-wards. When the southerly ozone encounters the Winter Antarctic vortex, it is prevented from reaching the South Pole until the vortex breaks up in the Spring. Thus, an anomalous ozone-high is produced outside the vortex, which quickly moves into the so-called ‘hole’ once the vortex breaks up. The ozone that is catalytically destroyed when the sun first illuminates the ozone layer in early Spring cannot be replaced by the tropical ozone until the vortex breaks up. Additionally, when the ‘hole’ is at its greatest extent, the sun is low on the horizon and the rays have a long path length, initially entering the stratosphere outside the ‘hole.’ The sun never gets directly above the ‘hole!’ Also, the footprint of UV rays on the ground is large because of the high angle of incidence. (i.e. the sunlight is ‘weak.’)

        Because I always read about the potential for damage from UV, but never saw any data on ground-level UV (Does this sound familiar?), I created a spreadsheet to estimate the UV flux based on data from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer and taking into account all the astronomical parameters as in your diagram. What I discovered was that there appeared to be a drift upward in the Winter values, when the UV flux was quite low. However, when protection was most needed, in the Summer, there seemed to be no change in the maximum values of UV, values which the ecosystem had evolved to deal with.

      • Clyde S,

        Great info.

        Every one that views or posts to WUWT should study your above post so that they can intelligently respond whenever the subject of “Ozone Hole” is mentioned in a discussion.

    • The ozone hole is where the magnetosphere penetrates the atmosphere….
      Its not going to go away no matter how much you legislate….

      The polar vortex is the act of funneling the cold air down to earth…

      Its pretty simple…

  2. “But the longer the hole persists, the greater the likelihood that the ozone layer is dominated by natural factors, not human CFC emissions.”

    The very same reason that the screaming blue-bloody-murder greenalists want massive action now on GHG because they know the longer the clamour has to go on, the more likely they will be shown to be wrong, lrequiring them to seek yet another scare story to frighten us all with!

    • Chaam Jamal,

      Have not read your essay yet, but there is sometimes a “ozone hole” at the North Pole too, if the circumstances are cold enough: ice crystals below -80°C as substrate for the reactants, which is seldom the case at the North Pole, but about every year within the Polar Vortex around the South Pole…

  3. This was already clear in 2006 when reached its record. This story plus the nonsense around acid rain and now the fraud around the temperature adjustments should help to stop AGW. With only 1 month to go for Paris it must be possible to organise the same situation as in Copenhagen 6 years ago with Climategate. WUWT should be leading this process.

  4. To declare a new problem you really should have “before and after” figures. Just as with climate, there are none. So scientists find something and without knowing what happened previously they call it a change. The ozone hole “crisis” was the dry run for the Global Warming scare.

    How long have we had the technology to investigate “ozone holes”? Not a large percentage of the earth’s 4.5 billion years I bet.

  5. Of course the econutters and enviroMENTALists would have us believe that the ozone hole is no longer a threat- job done.
    Now they have moved onto demonising CO2- much more potential for subsidy-sucking and virtue-signalling.

  6. Seems to me there are three possibilities for explaining the ozone hole.

    [1] cheating – Except for the United States, Canada and Europe in general, the rest of the chemical-making-and-reporting world is a free-for-all. Virtually all refrigerators made for consumption in Asia, Africa, South and Central America … are still reliant on R–22. Most of the ‘foam rubber’ in the world is still “blown” with CFCs, because it is way cheaper, produces way better product, and is non-toxic, non-flammable.

    [2] half-life – The whole point of the concern over CFCs was that they have relatively long atmospheric half-lives; the only degradation that happens to them is photochemical: UV occasionally will excite a molecule of CFC enough for it to bust apart, with the chlorine atom hopping off, to do its dirty catalytic ozone-eating business. Once so broken, the chlorine doesn’t nominally re-attach to a CFC fragment. Eventually by means that aren’t well understood, it gradually washes out of the atmosphere. Science is still debating just how long they last; some have HLs of months, others centuries to millennia.

    [3] climate change – Well, it has to be said, tho’ unpopular to the egg-throwing types at this site. But it is also not particularly unlikely that climactic changes in atmospheric circulation coincident with the most recent decade’s modest uptick in atmospheric instrumental records trends have left the Southern Ozone layer somehow at risk for degradation. Could be natural, could be man-made, could be both, could be neither.

    However … if you look at [2], one little phrase in there “by means that aren’t well understood”, it would be the part that is critically dependent on large-scale atmospheric dynamics changes, wouldn’t? Even a small change in the efficacy of atmospheric clearing mechanism(s) would substantially change the ozone-eating fraction of whatever is up there.

    Again, I’m not trying to incite a riot: to me the cheating (multiplied by China’s and India’s rapid socio-economic ascent) is most likely the source of the molecules that are eating away at the ozone layer. [2] is reality, not conjecture: half-life determines how much CFC finally is put to rest. [3] is open-conjecture … but definitely if true something also to build into models.


    • While you’re at it you might explain the half life of CO2. And don’t forget to add in all of the uncertainties within [2] and [3].

      • I thought I did (explain uncertainties)… but yes – there’re imprecisely known, both. Having them be imprecisely known doesn’t make them any less real or attributive. Or at least it seems that way to me.

      • Hey Resourceguy have Goat guy cite any reference at all that confirms the supposed chemical daisy chain that results in free Chlorine being able to “attack” Ozone at altitude that has been replicated in the laboratory. CFC have a long half life means one thing…they are nonreactive. That is the beauty of those chemicals and explains why they were being used in the first place. As far as it goes the environmentalists probably could be loaded on board to oppose silicone because of its outrageous persistence in the environment!

      • Fossilage, since you’ve probably heard of Google, specifically images.google dot com, it takes exactly one search for “ozone chlorine catalysis” to find hundreds (or who knows, thousands…) of info-graphics of varying quality that are reasonably succinct.

        But if you’re unusually lazy…

        Cl-R-Cl + → Cl-R· + Cl·
        Cl· + O₃ → ClO· + O₂
        ClO· + O₃ → Cl· + O₂ [- … radiative recombination]

        Net is chlorine catalytically (doesn’t nominally get consumed) degrades O₃ by 2 thermodynamically probable pathways; thus once created in its radical sense (with the dots), it quite readily gets regenerated many generations until encountering some other species with with it reacts and ‘stays bonded’.

        However, I also expect you (or someone) will say, Nay! Nay! That’s all pseudoscience gobbledygook!
        To which I will preëmpt: Not at all … stratospheric sampling has confirmed it, as well as hundreds of ground-based (and upper atmospheric too!) experiments.


      • @GoatGuy

        The problem with those reactions is hv.

        There is way more radiation (hv) coming from the sun at the equator than at the poles. (that is why it is warmer at the equator), More radiation at the equator means that the generation of chlorine radicals should be higher at the equator, and the destruction of ozone by those chlorine radicals should be more pronounced at the equator. Well, that it is not happening.

        Besides, the concentration of CFCs at the equator is bigger than at the poles. See here And the temperature is also higher. Both conditions favour a faster degradation of ozone at the equator than over the poles. The “hole” should be in the equator.

      • In winter in Antarctica, is there much of any sunlight, UV or otherwise, at all?
        Wintertime up there is dark.

    • GoatGuy, your incredible ignorant arrogance is astounding. There are many, many possible reasons for the ozone hole. The most obvious is that it has naturally been there for thousands of years and naturally changes size and shape. To blindly believe that we know how humans are affecting it, when we do not even know how it naturally came to be or naturally changes is science fiction of the highest order.

      • GoatGuy, your incredible ignorant arrogance is astounding

        Whtf? That was a meek comment giving three viable options. The ‘thousands of years’ thing is obviously wrong if we believe the graph above. There was no hole in 80’s, so it hasn’t been there for thousands of years. To suggest the measurement was in error, is OK, but an extraordinary claim requires evidence.

        To blindly think humans can’t cause a natural disaster is an utterly dangerous position.

      • Hugs is right. It was a reasoned presentation of the few remaining arguments that are still capable of casting doubt on the ideas that the Montreal Protocol has had no effect and the ozone hole is natural. Obfuscating ignorance it may be, and a few other undesirable things, but not I think arrogant.

      • 1. I don’t blindly believe much at all, Dan.
        2. That we can form a testable hypothesis is the basis of Science, not fiction, Dan.
        3. You are right: there may be many more reasons for an Ozone hole. I cited 3 top reasons, to me.
        4. It takes rather precocious ignorant arrogance, Dan, to start off a comment as you did.

        Peace, brother. We’re not on opposite sides of this one. I’m just not an egg-thrower, and I haven’t drunk the Koolaid either from the Global Warming narrative, nor from Andy’s It-cannot-possibly-be-so corner. And no, this doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. I do. Lots of ’em. Just not “camp”.


      • I can recall the very cold December of 2010 when the satellite pictures of the NH made it look like the great ice sheet of the Glaciation was back. By February, after all this had thawed, I remember the folk behind the “CFCs are creating holes in the Ozone Layer” saying the Ozone Layer over the NH had seriously thinned but that it was now thickening up again. They blamed ‘residual CFCs’ or the exceptional cold. I would go with the latter. Thinning of the Ozone always seems to be associated with cold.

      • A lot of swimming pools have a salt chlorine generator, in which NaCl is converted via hydrolysis to free chlorine:
        2 NaCl + 2 H2O ———- electrolysis ———> 2 NaOH + H2 + Cl2

        Perhaps a similar process takes place at the poles due to the solar wind entering the earth via the magnetic field…i.e. the process made visible by the aurora displays.

        Yes, no…maybe?
        There is a lot of salt floating around in the atmosphere.
        In some places it comprise the bulk of the condensation nuclei responsible for precipitation.

    • GoatGuy writes: “Virtually all refrigerators made for consumption in Asia, Africa, South and Central America … are still reliant on R–22.”

      How did you become privy to this information one might ask? You do know that all sorts of things need to be changed in an AC system to convert it between the two refrigerants? You can’t just take a compressor designed for R-12 and fill it with 134, doesn’t work. The two gasses have very different thermal properties, they use different lubricants and different sealing materials. I ask because Africa for example isn’t known for it’s manufacturing base and it would almost certainly set off alarms somewhere if they were buying lots of R-12 compressors.

      Did you really mean to type R-22? I think you meant R-12?

    • And another thing that gives lie to the use of R-12 in all of those regions you mention; R-12 is very expensive, almost 10 times more expensive than R-134. Your argument that R-12 equipment is still in use because it’s “way cheaper” is pure bull.

      • R-12 was way cheaper. It might be more expensive now, being illegal and unobtainable.

        Getting an AC recharged used to be a 20$ operation. when the change to r-134 was made many people had to pay big bucks to get their systems retrofitted. Also servicers had to get expensive evacuation/recycling/recharging equipment – of course the customers paid all costs, resulting in the cost being much higher still.

        Ozone is a three oxygen molecule. It has a negative charge due to the extra electron. wouldn’t the magnetic poles of the earth attract/repel, creating holes at the poles?

        Also, as an AC repairman I know that r-12 is much heavier than air, and also does not mix well with air – to the point that a freon detector has to be underneath a leak or it won’t detect very well. Chlorine being highly reactive and since cfc can be broken down by uv light, it seems to me the cfc would more likely hang around the surface till they break down and the chlorine recombines. I am suspicious that we were scammed by Dupont and scumbag scientists and politicians they bought – especially after seeing the way they are acting about this AGW thing.

      • I’m not sure if he was including this or not. Either way the cost of replacing or converting older R-12 equipment to R-134 should be factored in.

      • Having lived in the wider Arab ME for more than a decade after the protocols were accepted I can assure you that R-12 was used to refill at least three fridges that I owned there – and it was the only gas available for that purpose.

      • Jeff, if it has a charge it is an ion.
        And…what “extra electron”?
        Ozone exists in the neutral oxidation state, with a dipole moment.
        It is not an ion.
        Diatomic oxygen is paramagnetic, having two unpaired electrons.
        Ozone is diamagnetic, having no unpaired electrons.

      • Ozone is a three oxygen molecule. It has a negative charge due to the extra electron. wouldn’t the magnetic poles of the earth attract/repel, creating holes at the poles?

        O3 does not have a negative charge it is neutral.

    • For reasons others have cited, I do not think #1 is likely. I also do not believe that the phenomenon is so hyper-sensitive to tenths of degrees mean temperature change and, moreover, the trajectory bears no resemblance to the global temperature metric.

      If humans did, in fact, create or exacerbate the hole, then I would go with door #2 as the most likely explanation.

      The indictment of human influence on the ozone hole is fairly good. Much tighter a case than that of humans’ influence on temperatures (not difficult, as there really is no case for the latter). I give props to the occasional contributor “Phil” for walking through it with me on a previous board. While by no means a slam dunk, it is not a frivolous indictment.

    • I’m not an expert in this area, so I’ll just offer some layperson commentary hopefully to further this line of inquiry and maybe an expert can enter the conversation and shed some light on what is being researched in the field.

      All of GoatGuy’s suggestions seem to be reasonable and testable hypothesis’ except [3]. [1] should be testable via atmospheric testing (how much has chlorine concentration changed?), [2] should be testable via atmospheric testing (how much has atmospheric CFC concentration changed?).

      [3] You’ll have to narrow down ‘climate change’ to make a testable hypothesis. Perhaps the climate has changed with respect to cloud cover in polar regions. I think there’s a hypothesis that polar stratospheric clouds can reduce net ozone in polar regions. If you narrowed your hypothesis down to this, perhaps there’s satellite data that you could use to show a connection.

    • The reason I’ve read for the ozone hole is physics based. The ozone holes cluster around the magnetic N and S poles, not the geographic ones. Charged ions from the sun are blocked by the magnetic force lines above most of the world, and directed along the lines of force to the magnetic poles, where they enter the atmosphere and interact with ozone- disassembling the molecular structure of the ozone. Maybe a little mixed up as to the actual event sequence; I read it a long time ago. But the hole is right where it should be. Based on magnetic force lines. It’s smaller at the north pole because of a lot more atmospheric mixing bringing new ozone into the area.

    • I love the way the trolls assume that whatever scares their fellow fascists are putting forth must be true.
      And if the real world doesn’t cooperate, then it must be the result of bad people cheating or some kind of conspiracy.

    • Thank you GoatGuy for your post… The reaction is more than a formula, it has been observed and measured. While there has always been some thinning (due to polar air currents, etc) the expanded size is about retention time and continued use of not just R-12, but other gases that catalyze the degradation of ozone.

      When I was first made aware of this in my studies, the half-life was put at 50 years. While not following it assiduously, I have not seen any evidence to say otherwise.

    • GoatGuy – I agree. Molina and Roland’s theory is excellent science. They deserved their Nobel prize when facts seemed to back them up. Anyway, if ever it was reasonable to apply the so called ‘Precautionary
      Principle”, this was certainly the occasion : it could be done easily and cheaply.

    • @ GoatGuy October 26, 2015 at 10:55 am

      You forgot the actual reason that initiated the “fear-mongering” rhetoric about the Ozone Hole.

      #4 – DuPont’s patent for Freon production was going to expire.

  7. You mean I’m paying 2x times more in HVAC equipment, maintenance, and repair warranties for this? I vividly remember the advocacy claim that we would be paying only pennies more for the chemical switch over. The triumph of advocacy is everywhere….and no where.

  8. So we’ve been using cfc’s since the 1930s, and the ozone layer is just fine until the early 80’s when it just disappears? The proverbial tipping point?
    Sure seems odd…on the other hand the ocean has been rising slowly but steadily for more than 120 years and that’s the tipping point for CO2?

    • Thinking along the same line — but perhaps the theory would be the same 40-50 year lag. Further, noting that the chart begins in about 1979 (satellite era?) when according to the chart, there doesn’t seem to be any ozone hole; is there no data on it prior to 1979-1980?

      • The 1957 data is from an island off the coast of Argentina. If you look at the top figure, the hole ends before h tip of the Antarctic peninsula. The 1957 measurements are not in the area of the so-called hole.

      • scarletmacaw October 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm
        The 1957 data is from an island off the coast of Argentina.

        No, it’s from a base on the coast of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Well inside the ‘hole’ as shown by these images from1979 and 2008.

    • Use in the early years was relatively minor, it accelerated greatly through the 70s.

      The accumulation of CFCs over time led to increased depletion of O3.

  9. No, we didn’t, and we didn’t damage it either, which is a lesson in why you don’t let chemists (or lawyers) diagnose problems in astrophysics.

    Ozone is formed in the upper atmosphere when UV radiation breaks the covalent bond of O2 molecules (OK, that much is chemistry). For this to happen, the upper atmosphere needs to be exposed to UV. Where on the planet can we find the lowest exposure to UV radiation? Antarctica. The highest? Equator. Where do we see the heaviest ozone layer? The tropics. Thinnest? Antarctica. Would anyone care to connect those dots?

    It’s unlikely Antarctica will ever have an ozone layer, or that it ever had one in the past. This is another example of people getting excited because they just learned how to measure something and they don’t think the results look right. Instead of spending some time thinking about it they start shouting the sky is falling. The sad part is it works, the two guys with the theory got a Nobel prize out of the deal and Al Gore got to write another book on a subject he knows nothing about. The first time or two it was sort of interesting but I’ve seen this rodeo before and I’m getting more than a little tired of it.

    • BTW, does anyone care to guess at why R-12 was demonized? It went off patent. What better way to force an entire industry to abandon R-12 and re-tool around R-134? I know of which I speak, I’m an EPA Certified Mobile HVAC Technician :) If you buy an outfit you can be a cowboy too!

    • My guess is that 100 years ago, people will have a good chuckle when they read about all the dumb crap people dreamed up out of thin air, and then got their panties all in a knot about.
      Sort of like we do now, regarding people a long time ago.
      Sort of like how people have always had a bunch of wrong ideas about stuff that were later corrected.

      But, IMO, we have less excuse to be letting so many wrong ideas take hold and spread.

    • Absolute BS, Antarctica had an ozone layer in June this year, about 15 mPa O3 between 15 and 20 km altitude, after sunrise in October it dropped to zero.

      Here’s the equivalent measurement from a month before:

      I’ve seen the same heap of misinformation that is being pumped out in this thread about antarctic O3 depletion, and you’re right Scott it is tiresome, perhaps you should stop doing it.

  10. The fact that the ozone hole only appears in Antarctica, far from CFC production but not the Arctic – mush closer to CFC production/use has to be explained before any theory can be evaluated. Until we know why, and also whether there were ozone holes pre industrial age, there is not enough to go on.

    • No problem: winds and turbulence brings Sahara sand to where I live at 3000 km distance. CFC’s are a lot lighter than sand, so are nicely distributed from floor to ceiling and from one corner of the earth to the other…

      • I don’t see how that explains why CFCs are not casing a problem in the Arctic. Care to elaborate why it is only an Antarctic phenomenon.

      • Richard,

        The main point is climate: while CFC’s are destructed somewhat continuously by UV light (yes, it is a two-way process) and by chlorine, the ozone hole is an extra, as during the polar winter in Antarctica the polar vortex prevents the refreshing of ozone levels from lower latitudes and the main reactants are disposed on ice crystals in an inactive form (ClONO2) which only occurs below – 80 degrees C. In spring all that stuff is released at once and gets again active, which makes the ozone hole.

        The -80 degrees only happens now and then at the North Pole, but each year inside the polar vortex at the South Pole…

      • I don’t see how that explains why CFCs are not casing a problem in the Arctic. Care to elaborate why it is only an Antarctic phenomenon.

        It isn’t only an Antarctic phenomenon, that’s just where it’s most intense because the mechanism is strongest in regions of the stratosphere where Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSC) form in the intense cold of the winter. Only happens in some winters in the Arctic. O3 levels went down in the stratosphere everywhere due to the less severe higher temperature mechanism.

  11. It is hard to save something that you are not killing, El-Chichon and Pinatubo created the ozone hole and subsequently created Global Warming as well.

  12. Non existent problems are the easiest to solve.
    First have the committee decree a solution, then seek the problem to fit that solution.
    The ozone fiasco will live in infamy, as the start of bureaucratic overreach on a global scale.
    Biting the hand that feeds you is a traditional sport of the greys.

  13. Q.-B Lu’s Cosmic Ray Ozone Theory
    The primary competing model is by Q.-B Lu: Effects of cosmic rays on atmospheric chlorofluorocarbon dissociation and ozone depletion QB Lu, L Sanche – Physical review letters, 2001 Now updated in 2013: COSMIC-RAY-DRIVEN REACTION AND GREENHOUSE EFFECT OF HALOGENATED MOLECULES: CULPRITS FOR ATMOSPHERIC OZONE DEPLETION AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

    This study is focused on the effects of cosmic rays (solar activity) and halogen-containing molecules (mainly chlorofluorocarbons—CFCs) on atmospheric ozone depletion and global climate change. Brief reviews are first given on the cosmic-ray-driven electron-induced reaction (CRE) theory for O3 depletion and the warming theory of halogenated molecules for climate change. Then natural and anthropogenic contributions to these phenomena are examined in detail and separated well through in-depth statistical analyses of comprehensive measured datasets of quantities, including cosmic rays (CRs), total solar irradiance, sunspot number, halogenated gases (CFCs, CCl4 and HCFCs), CO2, total O3, lower stratospheric temperatures and global surface temperatures. For O3 depletion, it is shown that an analytical equation derived from the CRE theory reproduces well 11-year cyclic variations of polar O3 loss and stratospheric cooling, and new statistical analyses of the CRE equation with observed data of total O3 and stratospheric temperature give high linear correlation coefficients 0.92. After the removal of the CR effect, a pronounced recovery by 20~25% of the Antarctic O3 hole is found, while no recovery of O3 loss in mid-latitudes has been observed. These results show both the correctness and dominance of the CRE mechanism and the success of the Montreal Protocol. For global climate change, in-depth analyses of the observed data clearly show that the solar effect and human-made halogenated gases played the dominant role in Earth’s climate change prior to and after 1970, respectively. Remarkably, a statistical analysis gives a nearly zero correlation coefficient (R=0.05) between corrected global surface temperature data by removing the solar effect and CO2 concentration during 1850-1970. In striking contrast, a nearly perfect linear correlation with coefficients as high as 0.96-0.97 is found between corrected or uncorrected global surface temperature and total amount of stratospheric halogenated gases during 1970-2012. Furthermore, a new theoretical calculation on the greenhouse effect of halogenated gases shows that they (mainly CFCs) could alone result in the global surface temperature rise of ~0.6 C in 1970-2002. These results provide solid evidence that recent global warming was indeed caused by the greenhouse effect of anthropogenic halogenated gases.Thus, a slow reversal of global temperature to the 1950 value is predicted for coming 5~7 decades. It is also expected that the global sea level will continue to rise in coming 1~2 decades until the effect of the global temperature recovery dominates over that of the polar O3 hole recovery; after that, both will drop concurrently. All the observed, analytical and theoretical results presented lead to a convincing conclusion that both the CRE mechanism and the CFC-warming mechanism not only provide new fundamental

    The CFC-Ozone theory does not appear to be doing well. Isn’t it time to reevaluate Q.-B Lu’s Solar/Cosmic Ray – CFC Ozone hole theory?

    • Ozone Hole and Climate Change New Book 2015 by Qing-Bin Lu (University of Waterloo, Canada) 308 pp ISBN: 978-981-4619-44-8 (hardcover): Chapters

      Basic Physics and Chemistry of the Earth’s Atmosphere
      Interactions of Electrons with Atmospheric Molecules
      Conventional Understanding of Ozone Depletion
      The Cosmic-Ray-Driven Theory of the Ozone Hole: Laboratory Observations
      The Cosmic-Ray-Driven Theory of the Ozone Hole: Atmospheric Observations
      Conventional Understanding of Climate Change
      Natural Drivers of Climate Change
      New Theory of Global Climate Change
      Impacts on Science, Policy and Economics

      at Amazon; Bookfinder

    • Whoa. He says that global warming is caused by halogenated gases. Here I thought the ice age ended from unicorn farts. My bad.

      In a serious vein, who can take this sort of study seriously. Mostly theory. We laugh at many of Aristotle’s ideas today, but, he argued from first principles a lot, too.

      Climate science is becoming a punchline. Too bad. It might take decades to rehabilitate it.

      • joel – evaluate the accuracy of the predictions – compared to the miserable failure of conventional ozone hole from CFCs.

  14. “Scientists were concerned that degradation of the ozone layer would increase rates of skin cancer and cataracts”

    That claim always struck me as bogus. Thinning of the ozone layer occurs over Antarctica. How many people go sunbathing there to be affected by a higher incidence of ultraviolet rays?

    • While we are on the subject, and with you appearing to have some expertise in this area or research, can you tell me why deer crap looks like Milk Duds?
      And if there is really a Milk Duds factory at all? (One that is not a deer’s sphincter, that is.)

  15. It is possible that the hole in the ozone layer in there to stay. Let’s face it – it forms over Antarctica each winter due to the unique climate and geopgraphic circumstances – it is a land mass at the bottom of the world which is cut off each winter by wind and ocean currents, and temperature plummet far more there creating the favourable chemical conditions for Ozone breakdown. This is the complete opposite of the Arctic which is water surrounded by land, and those pesky land masses keep interfering with the wind and ocean currents up there such that the temperatures in the Arctic atmosphere rarely ever get as cold as the Antarctic – which is why a hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic has never persistently or consistently formed.
    And what I think the general masses fail to get it the hole in the ozone layer is seasonal. By November, it has all but disappeared as the cold air over Antarctica warms up (so to speak) for the southern summer.
    I am intrigued… If the hole is here to stay, what caused the precipitous decline in measured ozone levels from the 1960s onwards… And now I’m looking at graphs at the South Pole and there did seem to be a very vague small cooling trend at the south pole, until the last decade where temps became more erratic. Cooling would be more favourable for formation of a larger ozone hole… Sigh. Is it possible that the hole in the ozone is more strongly tied to temperatures? I guess if the Antarctic Continent (as opposed to the tippy tip of the Antarctic Peninsula) starts to warm in any meaningful way, and the hole in the ozone begins to shrink they we’ll have an answer. However, with temperatures mainly holding steady over the south pole,we will need patience to be certain – and one thing is for sure, catastrophists don’t have time to be patient!

      • George E. Smith October 28, 2015 at 2:39 pm
        For Phil.

        I took it or granted that CFCs or aerosols of some sort had in fact been identified over Antarctica as depleting the ozone, so I wasn’t really assuming that the sun was destroying ozone at night; just not replenishing it.

        Indeed it’s not being replenished at night but it doesn’t need to be because at night there is no depletion because of the absence of UV light. PSCs sequester HNO3 and produce Cl2 gas during the winter which doesn’t deplete O3, it is only when the Cl2 is broken down into Chlorine radicals by the UV light that the O3 is depleted and in the absence of the HNO3 this is extremely effective because the sequestration of the Cl into ClNO2 is not taking place.

    • There is one thing very peculiar about the south pole, besides being very far south.

      For some reason, there is a period during the year, when there is no daylight at all at the south pole, and likewise for a large surrounding area. During such periods of continuous night time, it is believed by some, that there is no solar energy falling on the earth’s atmosphere in that polar region and in particular there is no solar EUV arriving there either.

      Since it takes solar EUV to break up O2 into atomic oxygen, which then combines with O2 to form O3, it is conjectured that the absence of any incident solar EUV during the Antarctic winter night time, could contribute to a reduction in the rate of formation of Ozone.

      But Ozone is naturally unstable, and doesn’t survive for long, unless it is being continuously replenished.

      In the tropics, where UV would be more of a problem due to the larger populations there compared to the Antarctic highlands, there is never a day when the sun doesn’t rise in the East, and while it is risen, it continues to replenish the atmosphere’s ozone, hence the lack of an equatorial ozone hole.

      Well that’s all just conjecture anyway, and there likely is a more plausible and accurate reason, than lack of Antarctic daylight during the Antarctic winter nights.


      • George E. Smith

        You are far to reasonable to ever have a career in climatology.

        Instead someone will find a way that rising CO2 potentiates the destructive effects of CFC’s and will grab that career you could have had, if you had just a little less commitment to inconvenient things like truth, reason, and common sense.

      • Somebody best get on the horn with all the manufacturers of all the globes, maps, compasses, bar magnets…the whole caboodle, and get this mess straightened out.
        And I mean YESTERDAY!

      • This is how I understand the process as well. I read somewhere, a while back, that the hole could be completely natural but that CFCs were causing mid-latitude ozone thinning. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to whether or not the hole was caused by CFCs or simply discovered as a result of the extra focus on ozone depletion. I never found anything definite. I don’t have the time to dig back into this, maybe somebody else has some solid evidence.

      • George, depletion of O3 is photolytic also, O3 doesn’t decrease in the Antarctic stratosphere during the winter, only when the sun rises and the photolysis reaction can restart.

      • For Phil.

        I took it or granted that CFCs or aerosols of some sort had in fact been identified over Antarctica as depleting the ozone, so I wasn’t really assuming that the sun was destroying ozone at night; just not replenishing it.


  16. This is the usual life cycle of folk devils and moral panics;

    First, as a fringe belief, what you might call the maverick or “crazy hippy idea” phase.

    Second, growing acceptance. (This phase is getting shorter and shorter these days.)

    Third, general acceptance, often in the face of scientific opinion.

    Fourthly, obligatory acceptance. The one-time maverick theory becomes dogma, and the scientists are too terrified of the consequences to question it.

    Fifthly, growing skepticism, often underground.

    Sixthly, open and widespread skepicism.

    Seventhly, reaction. The dogma becomes anathema to all right-thinking people, and nobody can be found who admits to having supported it. (After WWII, there *were* no ex-Nazis!)

    The Ozone Hole could be the first of the modern dogmas to get past stage five!

    • They just say they fixed it and move on. Now we have “toxins” in our blood caused by Gluten and GMO or voting republican, and this stuff is spouted by perfectly ( I thought) rational people.

  17. All: I don’t know if what I have collected over time is correct. I’m not an expert. If anything below is incorrect, please advise. Thanks!

    Ozone allows life to exist on Earth by blocking ionizing short-wavelength UV and most mid-range UV wavelengths.

    Ozone in the Earth’s Stratosphere is reactive and unstable and is created by Ultraviolet (UV) light striking Oxygen molecules splitting them into individual oxygen atoms which then recombine with an Oxygen molecule to create Ozone.

    Solar Energy affects rates of Stratospheric Ozone production due to varying amounts of solar UV radiation emitted from the Sun.

    UV light comes from the Sun, so when the sun goes down Ozone is no longer created which explains why the Antarctic winter results in a natural drop in Stratospheric Ozone due to the6-Month night and the Polar Vortex that prevents mixing of Ozone-rich air outside of the polar circulation with the Ozone-depleted air inside the Polar Vortex, thus there will always be an “Ozone Hole” over Antarctica in the Spring as was predicted by Gordon Dobson in the 1920’s well before ozone levels were directly measured by satellites in the 1980’s, which explains why ozone is measured in Dobson Units.

    Chlorine destroys Ozone and is found in Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). However, CFC molecules are heavy and require a lot of turbulence to make it up to the Polar Stratosphere as well as require an undiscovered mechanism to transport CFCs from the industrial Northern Hemisphere to the South Pole.

    The “Ozone Hole” is not really a hole but an area where Ozone levels are low due to cold temperatures which promote the formation of natural Ozone-depleting chemicals found in Polar Stratospheric Clouds as well as natural sources of Chlorine so it is likely the “Ozone Hole” has always been there and actually wasn’t caused by your hairspray.

    Ozone (O3) is produced primarily in the Tropical Stratosphere in a process known as The Chapman Cycle when Atomic Oxygen (O) and Diatomic Oxygen (O2) recombine to continually form Ozone (O3) and converts Ultraviolet (UV) radiation into heat found in the Stratosphere which is why ambient temperatures drop when traveling up through the Troposphere but go up when traveling through the Stratosphere.

    • I love your summary.

      Let me just add a couple of things:

      The Earth atmosphere has oxygen since 1.5 billion years ago. UV light has been forming ozone since then. If the atmosphere is not full of ozone it is because it is unstable and decomposes naturally. There is a dynamic equilibrium where the rate of ozone formation equals the rate of ozone decomposition. Any theory about the ozone hole should start from this fact.

      Also. CFCs are more concentrated at the equator than at the poles. see link (satellite data):


      I quote from the link: Again as seen with the Ace comparisons CFC12 tends to be high in the tropics,
      and low at mid-and high latitudes,

  18. Let’s ban sea salt, it certainly contributes to ozone depletion.

    Legislation forcing seawater to be fresh has the additional benefit of making it directly usable with no large carbon footprint desalination procedure whatsoever.

    It’s a win-win deal, really.

    • You may be onto something.
      I seem to recall there were a couple of guys in history that declared war on the sea.
      Maybe we need a model to tell us if, with modern technology and grants, they would have succeeded.

  19. I would like to ask, how was it that CFCs were supposed to migrate upward in the atmosphere? These molecules would certainly have to be heavier than nitrogen, oxygen, and even CO2, even with a tiny bit of aerosol boost, they shouldn’t be able to climb all that high in the air because of their specific weight, right?

    • I would like to ask, how was it that CFCs were supposed to migrate upward in the atmosphere?

      CFC’s get easily as high as the tropopause, stratospheric circulation is slower.

      • …thunderstorms…

        Some t’storms go as high as 80,000 feet, no?
        Vacuum cleaners…in the vertical.

    • No, turbulent mixing of gases and Brownian motion at smaller scales ensures that gases are mixed in the atmosphere, once mixed they stay mixed. The bottom 43 miles of our atmosphere is termed the ‘homosphere’ because there is no gravitational segregation of gases and the composition does not depend on the molecular mass of the species.

    • Right, that’s what makes CO2 so dangerous – it all sinks to the bottom of the atmosphere and suffocates us, and all the water vapor goes to the top. :-)

      Convective mixing is a wonderful thing. Brownian motion helps too.

  20. “Others forecast that it will not begin to disappear until 2040 or later. ”

    The Steenrod group’s work is based not on the current use of CFCs, but on the slow degradation of CFCs and their byproducts. So your graph is misleading.

      • No, they made another fortune with the newly patented HCFC’s and later HFC’s…
        Anyway, they had no problems with the ban as the replacements were a lot more expensive and no concurrent on the market…

      • They make Teflon, Kevlar, Tyvek, Lycra,nylon, banlon (love them shirts) and about a gazillion other ‘ons, ‘ites’, ‘iums, enes…

    • DuPont’s FREONs were pushed to replace natural gases that were used for refrigeration. They got Government action to outlaw the use of these gases and replace them with FREON. F-12 was the direct replacement for butane, F-22 the direct replacement foe propane, etc. Small wonder they worked to outlaw their, out of patent, gases in favor of new ones…pg

  21. The game is not over. EPA rules on Ozone are now even more stringent for different reasons but “everybody knows” Ozone is bad and anything we need to do to avoid that chemical must be absolutely essential.

  22. Yeah but what are we doing to close the ozone holes on Venus? And Mars. And Jupiter. And Saturn. And Titan. And Uranus. And Neptune.

  23. What it is is a case of the chemistry being 100% right but at the same time completely wrong. Ozone – O3 – is an unstable molecule, it is easily split up by radiation – 2xO3 -> 3xO2 . The aurora are at the polar regions – caused by solar radiation (in conjunction with the earth’s magnetic field) , and the ozone holes are, likewise, at the polar regions.

  24. The thing that bothers me is that we were told by the Scientists that if we didn’t find a way of recovering the ozone layer then the end of the world would occur.
    As the depletion seems to be about the same as it was, shouldn’t we all be dead?

    • All that happens with the Ozone Hole is that in starting in August and ending in October each year, the southern polar vortex sweeps the ozone away from the south polar region toward the 40S-60S latitude. At the end of September, this region has the highest Ozone counts anywhere in the world at any time of the year approaching 450 Dobson Units. This map timeline is later into that period.

      By November and December, the Ozone moves back into the south polar vortex and the 40S-60S latitude drops back to normal.

      Watch the video on this page


      • Bill Illis October 26, 2015 at 5:02 pm
        All that happens with the Ozone Hole is that in starting in August and ending in October each year,

        This doesn’t happen the O3 peaks at altitude during september, when the depletion occurs it is between 15 and 20km so are you saying that the vortex only operates at that altitude? If it does where does the incoming air come from, both above and below have higher concentrations of O3 than the hole, your mechanism makes no sense.

  25. There have been many knock-on effects from this policy, which have placed people in danger.

    Rain repellents sprayed onto aircraft windscreens were banned. In heavy rainstorms pilots used to be able to see the runway clearly, because the repellents were very effective, but now everything is just a blurr.

    BCF fire extinguishers are no longer produced and cannot be used. Aircraft are quickly using up the last stocks of BCF, but no pilots since 1995 have been able to train with it to see just how prodigiously effective it is. (It really is a wonder material.) Thus when faced with a fire, the only experience the pilots and crew will have, is of a dribble of water from a fake extinguisher. And what will happen when stocks of BCF are all used up? Do we just let aircraft and their passengers burn?

    • What a neat idea. And how much jet fuel CO2 it will save. Let’s start immediately. No LeBourget for COP 21. Sailboats, bikes, horses, and a brisk walk. I may get soft and allow trains.

      • Like RainX but more powerful. There used to be a button on thenupper pannel, and the repellent was sprayed onto the screen when you needed it. But they have all been disabled because of environmental concerns. So we now land by Braille when it is raining.

    • We are still using Halon fire extinguishers although it is highly regulated. “Rainboe” the rain repellent was banned due to health concerns (and lawsuits) from leaks in the cockpit and environmental concerns.

      • Halon is no longer being produced. So when stocks run out, they run out. And there was a bit of a scandal when a recycler was found to be be diluting the Halon, partly because the raw material is so hard to get hold of.


  26. Steve Goreham,

    The world ODS consumption is of no interest here (it may for the future), of interest are the CFC and other ODS chemical concentrations in the stratosphere. Are there any figures/tends of these from balloon and/or stratospheric flights?

  27. Ozone is the result of O2 blocking harmful UV radiation…it is that radiation breaking O2 into OO which allows the formation of O3. Reduce the amount of incoming UV and you reduce the amount of O3….the “ozone hole” gets larger during the antarctic winter when incoming UV is at its least…the “ozone layer” thins and actually develops a hole sometimes over the arctic during the winter there.

    Considering how short the lifespan of an O3 molecule is in the wild it would not surprise me to learn that the “ozone layer” thins considerably each day on the dark side of the earth

    • ” …the “ozone layer” thins considerably each day on the dark side of the earth.”
      Steve, that is what I was taught in a general studies meteorology class in 1975. The ozone layer nearly disappears on the night side of the earth. I always thought that the hole was a place where it wouldn’t reform every day. I never could figure out how the CFCs could gather at the south pole to block the daily formation, but considered that it must be a global threshold where the usually sparsest region might become completely inactive.

      • “Dawtgtomis

        October 26, 2015 at 3:20 pm

        I never could figure out how the CFCs could gather at the south pole to block the daily formation”

        And neither could the “experts”. We were told by these “experts” that CFC’s released in the Northern Hemisphere, appeared over the South Pole to create the hole. It was bunkum then as it is now.

  28. The whole thing appears to the casual observer to be a naivete similar to Roger Revelle’s original CO2 ponderings (which I heard he withdrew publicly before his death).
    The problem seems to be that those who latch on to these theories for profit won’t be funded anymore if a non-emergency is determined.

  29. The ozone hole depends not on the presence of ozone, which just goes along for the ride, but on atmospheric dynamics which generates a vortex as the Brewer-Dobson circulation approaches the pole and terminates in a descending vortex which when viewed from above appears to contain a high concentration of ozone simply because of the viewing angle. Inside the hole is a region isolated by the vortex (like the eye of the hurricane) in which the ozone has decayed out naturally. The size of the hole has nothing to do with the ozone concentration. Like CAGW a great big nothingburger.

    • O3 is measured from both below and by sondes directly, no problem of viewing angle there. The size of the hole has everything to do with the O3 concentration! Prior to september each year the O3 over the polar region reaches a maximum in the altitude range 15-20 km and over the next month drops to zero. At altitudes above and below this range the decay doesn’t occur, how does your mechanism account for this?

    • Correct. The long lifetimes allow CFCs to eventually work their way up to the stratosphere.

      Has no one mentioned the need for ice crystal clouds to provide a platform for the catalytic destruction of ozone? The original theory for the ozone “hole” was that temperatures dropped in winter sufficient to allow the necessary crystal formation inside the polar vortex. When Spring arrives in Antarctica (aka, sunrise) the catalytic reaction can occur until the temperatures rise and the vortex breaks up.

    • No Zeke it’s not complicated at all. If we look at total column ozone for NH the most obvious changes are in 1982 and 1991 : El Chichon and Mt Pinatubo.

      Since both of these events occured near a solar max ( solar UV creates stratospheric ozone ) some of the underlying variation is probably also attributable to solar.

      Once you have eliminated both those effects you may start to look for a post 2000 increase and possible attribution to CFCs.

      The usual UN “trends” do nothing but hide obvious cause of changes in ozone. Very little to do with UN or Montreal protocol.

      Don’t know how long that graph will remain valid : it can be recreated here by entering 0N and 60N as coordinates:

  30. Many people blame the loss of the first shuttle on the CFC ban.
    There was never a problem with foam peeling off the external tank with the original formula.
    However when they switched to a CFC free formula, issues with foam peeling off the tank during launch started immediately.

    • Um,
      First one was Challenger, in 1987.
      It was 17 F. at my plant nursery the morning of the Challenger explosion.
      Our farm is about 60 miles due West of the Cape.
      I left a p. chem lecture that morning and watched the explosion.
      The O-rings sealing the joints between the sections of the solid rocket boosters lost their elasticity in the cold, allowing hot gasses to escape and burn a hole in the external fuel tank.
      The second one, the Columbia in 2003, was due to foam falling off on launch and dislodging some tiles on the heat shield.

  31. The ozone hole and for that matter the distribution of ozone in the atmosphere is in large part related to solar UV light activity along with solar CME and solar proton events.

    The combination of the above will then regulate the ozone distributions of ozone in the atmosphere in both a horizontal and vertical sense.

    My thinking is as the sun weakens the ozone concentrations in the lower stratosphere will decrease causing the ozone hole to grow, or at least remain large.

  32. Be nice to know what the levels of CFCs have been in Antarctica. If they have been dropping, I would think the ozone later would be closing up.

  33. But it is more complicated than that Salvatore. During solar grand minimums the EUV output of the sun is significantly depleted for decades. It takes a photon with a wavelength less than 241 nano-meters (UVC range) to have sufficient energy to break an O:O bond. whereas a photon with a wavelength of less than 320 nm (UVA range) has sufficient power to split an O:O:O molecule. There is huge less reduction of UVA in a grand minimum than there is UVC and EUV. And yes it is complicated because high energy protons can also react with oxygen and create ozone or with ozone and destroy it and although millions of times more photons than protons there seems to be more protons coming both from the sun due to more coronal holes and very high energy protons (cosmic rays) due to the lower solar magnetic field strength.

    • “Over the course of a solar cycle the solar wind modulates the fraction of the lower-energy GCR particles such that a majority cannot penetrate to Earth near solar maximum. Near solar minimum, in the absence of many coronal mass ejections and their corresponding magnetic fields, GCR particles have easier access to Earth. Just as the solar cycle follows a roughly 11-year cycle, so does the GCR, with its maximum, however, coming near solar minimum. But unlike the solar cycle, where bursts of activity can change the environment quickly, the GCR spectrum remains relatively constant in energy and composition, varying only slowly with time. (See Forbush decrease for short-term changes of GCR related to space strong solar events)

      These charged particles are traveling at large fractions of the speed of light and have tremendous energy. When these particles hit the atmosphere, large showers of secondary particles are created with some even reaching the ground. These particles pose little threat to humans and systems on the ground, but they can be measured with sensitive instruments. The Earth’s own magnetic field also works to protect Earth from these particles largely deflecting them away from the equatorial regions but providing little-to-no protection near the polar regions or above roughly 55 degrees magnetic latitude (magnetic latitude and geographic latitude differ due to the tilt and offset of the Earth’s magnetic field from its geographic center). This constant shower of GCR particles at high latitudes can result in increased radiation exposures for aircrew and passengers at high latitudes and altitudes. Additionally, these particles can easily pass through or stop in satellite systems, sometimes depositing enough energy to result in errors or damage in spacecraft electronics and systems.”
      Current radiation is high. Ozone is destroyed by secondary radiation, according to the magnetic field.

    • Not true, the measurements of total O3 over the south pole started in 1957 but the ‘hole’ didn’t appear until the late 70s/early 80s which was when the BAC reported it. Minimum spring levels of O3 in the 50s and 60s were ~300, after 1975 they dropped rapidly to less than 200 and continued to near 100.

      • So the initial measurement were in a cooling period (lasting from the late 40’s to early 70’s) while the hole appeared in the subsequent warming phase (lasting until the turn of the century). Perhaps a possible connection to the same natural mechanism affecting the temperature?

      • So the initial measurement were in a cooling period (lasting from the late 40’s to early 70’s) while the hole appeared in the subsequent warming phase (lasting until the turn of the century). Perhaps a possible connection to the same natural mechanism affecting the temperature?

        Not really because with cooler temperatures you’d get more PSCs and hence a larger hole, which is why the hole is bigger this year because conditions were more favorable for PSCs. Also the depletion occurs in colder winters in the Arctic for the same reason.

  34. Mt Erebus is a large strato-volcano that regularly pumps out halide and carbon gasses high into the atmosphere; such a similar feature is missing from the north pole region.

  35. I always have been puzzled by the “human-produced CFCs migrating upwards” through the atmosphere to the stratosphere. The CFCs are much heavier gasses than air, up to 5 times heavier. That migration can therefore only be done by atmospheric convection and at the South Pole in particular in winter that is practically absent. So you would expect the lowest concentration of CFCs in the upper atmosphere just after the Antarctic winter, when the hole is observed to be largest. To me it always seemed a flawed scenario.

    • The atmosphere is turbulent (e.g. lots of wind) well mixed (think of what happens when you dump a teaspoon of fine powder into water and keep stirring) It is only well above the stratosphere that the density is low enough for molecules to fractionate by mass. BTW, some people have been fooled by this argument into claiming that all of the CO2 (MW=44 amu) in down around your ankles because it is heavier than air (MW=29 amu). Just ain’t so.

      • The atmosphere is turbulent only when the ground is warmer than the air, helped by watervapour as trigger for convection. In winter Antarctica has no Sun, so the ground is stone cold, while the air is as dry as can be. And even without a warm ground but with watervapour the air can be still: ground fog, anyone?

        Carbondioxide is 50% heavier than air. CFCs are at least 2 times but on avergae 3 to 4 times heavier than air. In a laminar airflow this can lead to stratification, much more so than for CO2.

        Actually, this is a measurement that could be made, in central Antarctica I mean. I wonder if anybody has?

      • No stratification by molecular mass below about 40 miles altitude in our atmosphere, once mixed gases do not ‘unmix’. Measurements of CFCs have been made in the polar stratosphere, above about 15 km altitude CFCs breakdown due to exposure to UV light, CF4 is unreactive up to 50km, see graph below:

  36. Reblogged here – http://irishenergyblog.blogspot.ie/2015/10/did-we-really-save-ozone-layer.html

    One of the main objections to scientific predictions is that they are rarely checked 20 or 30 years later for their accuracy and nobody is ever held to account for a failed prediction and the costs incurred by society as a direct result of that prediction.

    As humans we know a lot less about our climate than what we know. The doomsday threat from CFC’s has now shifted to CO2 and when the “threat” from that is over it will have moved on to something else. The one constancy is that scientists will rarely admit their mistakes.

    • Owen October 28, 2015 at 5:55 am

      One of the main objections to scientific predictions is that they are rarely checked 20 or 30 years later for their accuracy and nobody is ever held to account for a failed prediction and the costs incurred by society as a direct result of that prediction.

      Whereas the predictions regarding CFC depletion have been regularly checked over the last 30 years and have been found to hold up. Articles such as this one by Goreham which introduce spurious arguments and ignore the facts don’t change anything. The long-lived nature of CFCs has been well known for decades and consequently the importance of ceasing production rapidly was well understood. The idea that a chemical which has an atmospheric lifetime of ~100 years would cease to have an effect as soon as production ended is idiotic, but of course if Goreham had shown the actual atmospheric concentrations instead of production he wouldn’t have been able to write the article. I don’t expect that we will get an apology from Goreham for his misleading article.

    • The ozone hole is where the magnetosphere penetrates the atmosphere….
      Its not going to go away no matter how much you legislate….

      Its pretty simple…

  37. I wonder if it was only co-incidence that the hole in the ozone layer over antarctica was discovered at about the same time as the 50 year licence for CFC production was about to expire?

  38. The ozone hole is where the magnetosphere penetrates the atmosphere….
    Its not going to go away no matter how much you legislate….

    Its pretty simple…

  39. Sorry Mr. Goreham, but you denier types just seem to get it wrong every time.

    If, indeed, there is no traceable result in ozone recovery after Man has stopped producing CFC’s then the logical conclusion can never be “…the longer the hole persists, the greater the likelihood that the ozone layer is dominated by natural factors, not human CFC emissions.” Rather, it can only mean that there is some other man-made cause for the dangerous hole that has yet to be discovered. Oodles of research money and a new Nobel Prize in Chemistry await the intrepid team that will find the next great Sin of humanity.

  40. Might I inquire as to the state of the antarctic “ozone layer” PRIOR to 1983?
    How about prior to the development of CFCs?
    Recorded scientific data would be appropriate.
    How long has this “hole” existed?

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