A new hole in the ozone layer has been identified -

A new hole in the ozone layer has been identified –

Recently, a new hole in the ozone layer has been identified above the tropics, a thinning of the atmospheric layer that protects the Earth from solar radiation, it can reach sizes seven times larger than the already known one above the South Pole.

This disturbing finding emerges from a study conducted by scientists at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and presented in the journal American Institute of Physics Advances.

In the scientific context, to be classified as such, a “hole” in the ozone layer is defined as an area where ozone loss is greater than 25% compared to regions considered stable. The team, led by Qing-Bin Lu, identified an area where the ozone layer is 80% thinner than standard values. By extension, experts say, this hole is about seven times larger than the one in Antarctica and does not seem to vary significantly during the year.

The result is particularly alarming

“The tropics – Lu reports – make up half of the planet’s surface and host about half of the world’s population. The presence of this singularity is a cause for global concern. “

This result is particularly alarming because ozone, a chemical compound also known as O3, protects the Earth’s surface from ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation. Without this type of shielding, the Sun’s electromagnetic waves can cause serious health risks, such as an increased risk of developing skin cancer or the formation of cataracts, while weakening the human immune system. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can also be harmful to ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic.

In the historical context, since the mid-1970s, it has been hypothesized that the presence of industrial chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), could have caused depletion of atmospheric ozone. In 1985, a “hole” of significant size was found in the South Pole region. The ban on the use of pollutants, scientists point out, has helped slow the expansion of thinning, but nevertheless, the presence of O3 has continued to decline, says Fatto Quotidiano.

Several populations, exposed to the risk of experiencing negative consequences

“I had never noticed this singularity – Lu comments – preliminary data suggest that more tropical populations are already at risk of experiencing negative consequences due to radiation, which reach higher levels than expected.”

Tropical ozone holes could play an important role in cooling and regulating stratospheric temperatures. This finding, the researchers point out, could prove crucial to a better understanding of global climate change.

“Our work highlights the need for further studies on the depletion of the ozone layer, the change in UV radiation, the increase in health risks and the negative effects that this situation can cause on ecosystems in tropical regions” – concludes Lu.