Arctic ozone levels drop drastically

15:31, March 31, 2011      

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The total ozone value detector on the Fengyun-3 satellite monitored an area over the Arctic with an apparently low total ozone value, said the National Satellite Meteorological Center (NSMC) under the China Meteorological Administration.

The low ozone value in the area is only about one half of the normal value and is approaching the upper limit of ozone holes.

The area with an apparently low total ozone value has not developed into an ozone hole that is as large as the ozone hole over Antarctica, said Yang Zhongdong, head designer of the Fengyun-3 satellite ground application system at the meteorological center.

Yang said that domestic and foreign data collected shows that the recent Arctic ozone level was the lowest in recent years. Experts are collecting historical data monitored 20 to 30 years ago and are continuing to monitor the variations of the low Arctic ozone levels. According to preliminary analysis, the recent Arctic ozone level is the lowest on record.

Some believe that the primary reason behind the formation of the Arctic ozone hole is halogen atoms that were released by solar ultraviolet radiation from polar stratospheric clouds within the polar vortex that can destroy the ozone.

Generally, the decline in ozone concentrations will lead to the rise in ultraviolet radiation, resulting in higher exposure to skin disease and skin cancer risks. However, the areas with low ozone levels in the Arctic are mainly where there are few human activities and inhabitants. Therefore, the decline in the Arctic ozone levels has not affected human lives so far.

By People's Daily Online

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