Antarctic ozone hole 'bigger than ever'
Wednesday 13 September 1995
The Antarctic ozone hole caused by pollutants has opened up earlier and more rapidly this year than ever before, the UN's World Meteorological Organisation reported yesterday.
The finding increases pressure on the world's environment ministers to agree on tough new restrictions on industrial and agricultural chemicals which strip out the earth's protective ozone layer. They are to meet in Vienna in December but preliminary negotiations have run into serious obstacles.
The thin layer in the upper atmosphere shields the earth's surface from harmful ultra-violet radiation. Each Antarctic spring for more than a decade the return of sunlight drives a complex chain of chemical reactions that result in more than half the ozone being destroyed over the frozen continent. The damage is repaired later during the southern hemisphere winter, with the ozone building up again.
World Meteorological Organisation officers told a Geneva press conference yesterday that the Antarctic ozone decline was the most rapid on record, at one per cent a day, and the hole now covered an area the size of Europe. It had reached twice the size it attained at this time of year in 1993 and 1995.
Scientists of the British Antarctic Survey, the organisation which first discovered the hole almost 10 years ago, said ozone readings at the UK's Faraday base were unexpectedly low.
Since 1987 nations have made a series of agreements on phasing out ozone- depleting chemicals and scientists have forecast that these should help the protective layer to begin a very gradual recovery around the turn of the century.
But the latest readings, combined with this year's record thinning of the ozone layer over the Arctic during the northern hemisphere spring, sound a warning to the Vienna negotiators.
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...