Ozone hole might slightly warm planet

A lot of people mix up the ozone hole and global warming, believing the hole is a major cause of the world’s increasing average temperature. Scientists, on the other hand, have long attributed a small cooling effect to the ozone shortage in the hole.

Now a new computer-modeling study suggests that the ozone hole might actually have a slight warming influence, but because of its effect on winds, not temperatures. The new research suggests that shifting wind patterns caused by the ozone hole push clouds farther toward the South Pole, reducing the amount of radiation the clouds reflect and possibly causing a bit of warming rather than cooling.

“We were surprised this effect happened just by shifting the jet stream and the clouds,” said lead author Kevin Grise, a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York City.

Grise notes this small warming effect may be important for climatologists trying to predict the future of Southern Hemisphere climate. Via Ozone hole might slightly warm planet.

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