Ozone recovery may accentuate climate change

The recovery of the ozone layer, expected to heal gradually over the next half-century, may affect wind currents and exacerbate global warming, according to a new study.

A hole in the ozone layer, which protects life from harmful ultraviolet rays, and which can cause skin cancer in humans as well as mutations in other organisms, was first discovered in 1985.

Two years later, the Montreal Protocol in 1987 banned substances such as chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs), which destroy stratospheric ozone.

A new study in the journal Science compares current climate models used by the International Panel on Climate Change to predict the potential long-term consequences of global warming to another set of models that account for chemical reactions in the stratosphere.

A team of international researchers led by Son of Columbia University found IPCC models failed to model ozone recovery and its possible consequences adequately.

The other models showed that the healing of the ozone layer will warm the stratosphere, disrupting an important westerly wind jet closer to Earth's surface.

The scientists said computer models predicted that the jet will slow near the South Pole, which could affect surface temperatures, the extent of sea ice, storm tracks, the location of arid regions and wind-driven ocean circulation in the Southern Hemisphere.

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