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UN warns Sweden over record ozone layer loss

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 5 Apr 2011, 16:32

Published: 05 Apr 2011 16:32 GMT+02:00

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"The public is recommended to stay informed through national UV forecasts," UN body the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The depletion of the ozone layer - which protects against skin cancer - has reached unprecedented levels due to record-low winter temperatures in the upper atmosphere, according to the WMO, which compiles global ozone data.

The problem is particularly acute for Sweden as winds have forced the hole in the ozone layer over Scandinavia and sun-thirsty Swedes are being warned against flagrant exposure to the sun's rays.

By the end of March, some 40 percent of the ozone layer had disappeared, beating a previous record of 30 percent, despite an international agreement aimed at cutting the production and consumption of ozone destroying chemicals.

The Montreal Protocol was signed in 1989, and last revised in 1999. The treaty was designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous chemicals believed to be responsible for depletion. If adhered to it is expected to enable the ozone layer to recover by 2050.

Ozone is destroyed by reactions with these industrial chemicals, which, while they are restricted by the protocol, can cause damage continuing for several decades.

Story continues below…

The WMO reported that while the 2010/11 ozone destruction is unprecedented, it is not unexpected with significant Arctic ozone loss foreseen as a possible scenario by scientists in the event of a a cold and stable stratospheric winter.

“The degree of ozone loss experienced in any particular winter depends on the meteorological conditions. The 2011 ozone loss shows that we have to remain vigilant and keep a close eye on the situation in the Arctic in the coming years,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said.

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Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:12 April 5, 2011 by millionmileman
Just today there is a very sad story of a 21 year-old women who died from skin cancer. She never used a sun-bed or drove a Saab Convertible.

Actually the body needs sunlight through the retina to produce vitamin D. This helps to avoid cancers. But like everything else MODERATION. Do not lay out in the sun all day and use a sun-screen.

Yellow fruits are also a good choice, like mangoes, bananas, curry, etc.

17:52 April 5, 2011 by jack sprat
This has got to be SAD in every sense of the word and more than a little ironical

The poor sods suffer from the cold and the long hours of depressing darkness for much of the year, then as soon as they get chance of a brief glimpse of the Sun, they are told to keep out of it.

However unfortunately I have to agree it is all very true, having seen much the same happen to someone I knew quite well a few years back.
18:40 April 5, 2011 by reason
Worst winter ever for the arctic environment :(

Warm at the surface and cold in the stratosphere means less ice and less ozone.

At least the ozone problem is temporary. Even though it may still get worse before it gets better, my grandchildren should hopefully not have to worry more about it than my grandparents did. We can deal with a bit of extra sunscreen in the meantime.
20:29 April 5, 2011 by keepvogel
UN should realize what a depressing, grey, foggy day, like today, is like.

Yesterday a small glimpse of sunlight in the late afernoon, suddenly I felt so happy! :)

Depressions aren't healthy either..
20:45 April 5, 2011 by Mr G
Same pic as last time, not that I'm complaining.... :)
21:22 April 5, 2011 by Beavis
This is nonsense..... Just 2 weeks ago scientists who are in the artic reported that the ozone thickness was at it thickest since the late 1980's Where as World Meteorological Organization "experts" are based in Switzerland and are looking for further funding, there is nothing scientific about what they do and its similar to long range weather forecasters..
22:54 April 5, 2011 by mojofat
Yeah, such nonsense! Everyone from Sarah Palin to Jesus knows that man cannot possible alter the climate or the ozone...and radiation is just something all of those tree-hugging pussies made up to scare us into socialism.
23:46 April 5, 2011 by zeero
What sun are you talking about?
23:48 April 5, 2011 by EP
So much for recycling. What's the point. Despite Sweden being so ekologisk, we still get a hole.
00:14 April 6, 2011 by Roger O. Thornhill
Fake breasts cause ozone depletion!!!!!!!!!!!
00:22 April 6, 2011 by Swedesmith
Oh go right ahead and shatter my dreams. I thought she was just perky.
00:26 April 6, 2011 by Caw Mentor
For those asking why is this hole forming? What makes this year different?

or why do they keep mentioning the cold air, and what does it have to do with the ozone?

The hole exists, because the ozone is being forced out of the area by the cold air.

Ozone O3 is a 3 piece oxygen molecule created by a reaction of sunlight and oxygen in the atmosphere. It is always being created anywhere the sun hits the air, and destroyed by the UV light.

In the antarctic the ice is so thick that a polar vortex always forms during their long night of winter ( a month or so with no sunlight at all.) during that time the cold air pushes all the warm air out and forms almost a wall of cold.

Because the Ozone is formed by sunlight it is warm when created, so is also pushed out. It's dark during the arctic winter so no Ozone is created there during that time so a hole forms.

Now normally because there is no land mass at the North pole, and very little inside the arctic circle, there is not normally enough ice mass to set up a polar vortex there, but this year it was unusually cold. A vortex formed and then so did an Ozone hole.

In both the arctic and the antarctic the ozone hole collapses once the sun rises again and heats the air enough to break the vortex.

There is a risk though for maybe a few weeks that this cold air mass before it breaks up does not have the ozone levels in it to guard against UV radiation in these very northern cities and towns and they could be at risk to skin cancer from the elevated UV.
02:49 April 6, 2011 by jackx123
I'll take my chances with her under the sun hehe
05:54 April 6, 2011 by nolikegohome
hmmm that must be great news for the Dermatologists of Sweden.
06:20 April 6, 2011 by Decedo
Gotta love the Local's choice of pictures sometimes :) The article could be talking about Finland invading Sweden for it's glog and I'd have a dumb grin on my face as I scroll back to the lead picture
08:12 April 6, 2011 by hilt_m
this is stupid, back in jan it was meant to be record thick http://www.thelocal.se/31312/20110108/ so is it thick or thin or has it changed in 3 months time? I love how that pic always gets pulled out whenever it's a story about the sun :)
08:38 April 6, 2011 by Stickeroo
Hmmm...looks to me like the girl in the picture is lacking sunscreen. No problem, I'll apply some for the low bargain price of only 10SEK. (Like the old Archie comics, walking around the beach rubbing oil on hot girls and makin money).
09:30 April 6, 2011 by engagebrain
21:22 April 5, 2011 by Beavis

This is nonsense....


The statement is that the air usually over the arctic has been blown over us.

It is not therefore surprising that the air currently over the arctic has a thicker ozone layer than usual.

Skin cancer is one of the nastier cancers - the idiots who believe this is nonsense are putting themselves up for Darwin awards.
11:09 April 6, 2011 by Beavis
engangebrain.. look at the link that hilt_m posted above.. that is what I am talking about! I never said that exessive sunbathing was not dangerous, of course it is!

What is nonsense is that some scientists who are actually researching this http://www.thelocal.se/31312/20110108/ say its getting thikcer. Wheras some guys sitting behind their desk "predicting" weather in Geneva say its getting thinner! Who do you believe?
20:30 April 6, 2011 by sgt_doom
And why this site might be important:

23:33 April 7, 2011 by Essjay
Yeah, such nonsense! Everyone from Sarah Palin to Jesus knows that man cannot possible alter the climate or the ozone...and radiation is just something all of those tree-hugging pussies made up to scare us into socialism.

Mojahin ,,,Sarah Palin the most beautiful creature that God ever created after his Son Jesus tells us it is so then truly it is for she sit.s on the left finger of God !!!
00:35 April 13, 2011 by wenddiver
Skin Cancer is no joke!!! It is one of the most fatal cancers if left untreated. Dieing from Skin Cancer is easily preventable though. Have any mole with an irregular edge or, sudden change of color, rapid growth, developed blood sorce or bleeding checked. Removal of the malignant mole prior to the cancer spreading cures the cancer.

A lot of people from Northern climates think they can not become sun burned on overcast days, they are wrong!!!! From Florida to the Tropics the sun is bright enough to give you a sun burn through the cloud cover.

If in Florida, don't mess with the animal called the Portugese Man o' war, it may look like a blue ballon, but it's sting contains the same venom as a Cobra Snake (yes they can still sting laying dead on a beach.)
00:56 April 13, 2011 by Kauaiboy
Aloha from Kauai, while I am 1 of the very, very few light blonde blue eyed, fair skin people on Kauai, I keep my dermatologist busy, sun screen 30spf. Kauai MOSTLY Philipeano's. Would love to visit Sweden 1day. Aloha!
02:48 April 13, 2011 by MichiganLady
My uncle, Swedish descent as I am, died before age 60 from skin cancer on his temple that spread to the brain. Rapidly. One minute he's being treated for the skin cancer, 4 days later he's dead.

And he sure wasn't a sun bather or anything like it. How much worse would it be for those seeking deep tans year after year? You're playing Russian Roulette with the possibility.
04:23 April 18, 2011 by MikeSar
This seems due to Global Warming "Now normally because there is no land mass at the North pole, and very little inside the arctic circle, there is not normally enough ice mass to set up a polar vortex there, but this year it was unusually cold. A vortex formed and then so did an Ozone hole."

This "unusually cold" year may be due to greater glacier melting in Himalaya, Siberia and Alaska which brings cold, salt-free water to the Arctic that led to the Arctic Vortex. This salt-free water is less dense and accumulates over the cold arctic water and pushes it out of the pole, faster which brought unusual winters to England and the Baltic Sea.

But, not to worry, by 2035, or so, there will be no more glaciers to melt and the polar vortex will die, a natural casualty of GW. But, about 1.5 billion people will be out of water in Central Asia but, there will be many more cyclones and hurricanes that will bring far more rain which will save some crops and people and drown others. I think. Should the world get ready, or wait?
16:06 April 19, 2011 by CokoSwede
Anyone see that false rape accuser in the white bikini at the top of the article? Probably claiming free money off your taxes as we speak.
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