Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Whatever happened to the ozone hole? Lessons in timely action to avert global disaster

By Dr Shane Huntington

Atmospheric scientists Prof David Karoly and Dr Robyn Schofield discuss the hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic, and what effect timely global action taken in 1987 seems to have had in reversing ozone degradation.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

I'm Dr Shane Huntington. Thanks for joining us. While the sun's energy keeps us warm, enables our food to grow and has the potential to power our future, it's easy to forget that it also produces dangerous forms of radiation. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation can be deadly and, despite our attempts to limit the dose of UV, it's difficult to completely avoid, especially given its important role in producing vitamin D in our bodies. For the most part, we're protected from radiation by out planet's combination of magnetic fields and atmospheric gases. But we can't take these for granted. The atmospheric layer of ozone, one of Earth's important filters of UV, was at serious risk only a few decades ago when certain industrial emissions were found to be thinning the ozone and creating a hole through which dangerous amounts of UV could pass. But, unlike to our current call for action against climate change, the world responded in earnest to the ozone hole problem in the 1980s. Some 30 years later, how is the ozone layer travelling? Have we, in fact, succeeded in repairing that perilous hole over the South Pole? To answer these questions and discuss the geopolitical...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.