When you have some kind of illness, mostly a chronic one, any imbalance that you put your body in creates another one, and the process goes on until it is slowly stopped or until you die. Alike is the Earth: the much-feared ozone layer hole over the Antarctic is slowly but steadily closing, but scientists realized that while it had been open, it kept the carbon-induced heat from melting the Antarctic glaciers.
The effect that the ozone hole had upon the sunlight was that the hole led to high-speed winds, which in turn helped the formation of brighter summertime clouds, reflecting more of the solar power back into space.
“These clouds have acted like a mirror to the sun’s rays, reflecting the sun’s heat away from the surface to the extent that warming from rising carbon emissions has effectively been cancelled out in this region during the summertime,” said Professor Ken Carslaw of the University of Leeds who co-authored the research.
“If, as seems likely, these winds die down, rising CO2 emissions could then cause the warming of the southern hemisphere to accelerate, which would have an impact on future climate predictions,” he added.
The Leeds team made their prediction using a state-of-the-art global model of aerosols and two decades of meteorological data. The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council’s Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study (UK SOLAS) and the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence Programme.
So, the Earth has been badly sick for the past hundred years or so. Patching a hole results in something else – so what’s the real solution, anyway?