Google+

Extra Water Vapor Up High Could Trigger Destructive Chemical Reactions

Climate change may spur the destruction of ozone in unexpected parts of the globe.

In a warming world, many scientists believe, severe weather will become more common. That could be a problem in part because powerful rainstorms have the potential to erode ozone above the United States, researchers report online July 27 in Science.

“For 30 years, we’ve studied the problems of ozone loss and climate change separately,” says team leader James Anderson, a Harvard atmospheric scientist. “Now it’s pretty clear that climate change appears to be linked directly to the loss of ozone.” High-altitude ozone acts as a protective shield, blocking ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer.

Anderson and his colleagues stumbled on the unexpected connection while studying strong summer storms fueled by rising heat. During missions from 2001 to 2007, NASA planes flying close to the edge of space spotted water spewed high into the sky by convective storms over the U.S. The goal was to gather useful measurements for figuring out how high-altitude clouds form and trap heat.

But the data also revealed a possible threat to ozone molecules floating 15 to 20 kilometers up. Large storms often left behind extra water vapor in this part of the stratosphere, the remnants of melted ice crystals propelled upward.

That vapor could set the stage for a chemical chain reaction, Anderson says. Aerosol particles swollen with water can dissolve airborne hydrochloric acid. The acid can then react and form other chlorine compounds, including pairs of chlorine atoms. Sunlight cleaves those molecules, spitting out unstable chlorine atoms that break down ozone.

“It’s the same chemistry as that going on above the Arctic and the Antarctic,” says Anderson. Chlorine from human-made chemicals has chewed seasonal holes in ozone above Antarctica and caused thinning above the Arctic. These ozone-destroying chemicals are being phased out under the 1987 Montreal Protocol.

The team’s calculations suggest that the havoc wreaked by water vapor could continue for days after a storm, as humidity levels slowly fall. As much as 25 to 35 percent of ozone, over a horizontal distance of 100 kilometers, could be annihilated in a week.

“I was surprised that so much ozone could be removed in such a short time,” says Dale Hurst, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

For now, the danger exists only on paper. Actual measurements tracking chlorine compounds in the stratosphere would help to confirm whether the damage is taking place and, if so, how widespread the problem may be. And while many climate simulations do call for more strong storms as temperatures continue to rise, the future is still somewhat fuzzy. A warmer atmosphere would hold more moisture but would also weaken the wind shear that whips up extreme weather.

“It’s a bold idea that raises more questions than it answers,” says Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University in College Station. “But this is what great scientists do; they come with ideas that spur people to start working on new things.”

Source: Science News / Devin Powell/ photo Credit: Carla Thomas/NASA

Entertainment

Best Picture Nominated WWII Biopic Arriving on DVD

  Hacksaw Ridge DVD Review by Kam Williams Best Picture Nominated WWII Biopic Arriving on DVD     Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains where he was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist. Devoutly religious, he followed his faith's literal interpretation  of the 10 Commandments, including the 5th's dictate that "Thou shalt not kill." So, when he rushed to enlisted in the Army right after the Japanese sneak … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the African-Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Trump and Traditions of the Founders

  Trump and Traditions of the Founders By Ezrah Aharone Maybe I should watch more CNN or MSNBC to be convinced since most Black people seemingly regard Donald Trump as some sort of abrupt political mutation who violates America’s traditions. What I see in Trump is “America’s traditional reflection in the mirror.” I see the exact same hardline and hostile government that the founders deliberately engineered with deep political and racial … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Skeeter Recognized Again for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction

  Skeeter Recognized Again for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction    Skeeter, a leader in performance fishing boats, announced today from the Miami International Boat Show® that the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA®) has again recognized Skeeter with a CSI Award for excellence in customer satisfaction in the Freshwater Fiberglass Outboard Boat category. This year’s award is the fifteenth consecutive for Skeeter, an … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Super Bowl LI’s Message: Patriotism

  Super Bowl LI’s Message: Patriotism by Amy Lignor   There are some people waking up this morning completely stunned. Why? Because they shut the Super Bowl off after the third quarter. They knew what was “going to happen” and had to go to work today, so why bother staying up and watching the rest of what was going to be an obvious blow-out? Besides, they had been given some memorable commercials, a great country western singer ushering … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Mobile Phone Forecast: Is Saturation of the Market in Sight?

  Mobile Phone Forecast: Is Saturation of the Market in Sight? by Amy Lignor   It is a fact that when people say no matter where they look – whether it be while walking down a neighborhood sidewalk, driving in their cars, shopping at the grocery store – it seems that everyone on the planet is holding a phone to their ear, or staring down at the screen in order to text, get information, search online, or watch Facebook and Twitter … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

It’s Time to Save for Summer Vacation!

  It’s Time to Save for Summer Vacation! by Amy Lignor   Putting the “pennies in the piggy bank” is something everyone in this world does (or wants to do) on a daily basis. But NOW is the time to take those “extra” pennies and purchase that great piggy bank that’s perhaps wearing some sunglasses, a colorful hat, some swim trunks…anything that makes that new piggy remind you of the one thing you want to do all year long – go on the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]