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Fires in Australia have reduced the ozone layer by 1%: the improvements in 10 years have been canceled out

According to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, the smoke particles emitted by fires that broke out in Australia between 2019 and 2020, during the so-called black summer, would have eliminated a portion of the ozone layer corresponding to that recovered. In the past ten years thanks to efforts to reduce emissions.


He will remember a lot black summer For 2019 the Australian summer that characterizes devastating fires Which, in addition to destroying about 175,000 square kilometers of landscape, had consequences for the atmosphere We are still paying. Secondly New study Made by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from Bostoncolumns smoking Unleashed by large fires destroyed a layer ozone: rose up to 35 km above the Earth’s surface, scattering more than a million tons of particles into the atmosphere – which is equivalent to the effect of a volcanic eruption. In total, between 2019 and 2020, the presence of particulate matter in smoke is estimated to be 1% ozone removed.

The study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesShow for the first time how smoke from fires can lead to chemical reactions in stratosphere Capable of contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer that protects the Earth from it UV.

Although ozone is present in small concentrations throughout the atmosphere, most of it (about 90%) is found in the stratosphere, 10 to 50 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The ozone layer, which filters out most of the sun’s harmful UV rays, is essential to our layer life on earth.

Australia’s fires appear to be the biggest event yet, but as the world continues to warm, there is every reason to believe that these fires will become more frequent and intense.‘ said MIT researcher Susan Solomon.It’s another wake-up call – just like the Antarctic ozone hole – that shows just how bad things can be.“.

As noted in an MIT memo presenting the study, efforts around the world In the past ten years Specifically in terms of reducing emissions led to Restore about 1% of the ozone layerThis means that the Australian fires examined in the study were enough to effectively undo all the progress made between 2010 and 2020. Moreover, the concern is that the situation will deteriorate in the coming years: only in recent days,United nations The alarm sounded, indicating that from now until the year 2100, due to weather changesForest fires will increase by 50%.

Although ozone is partially replenished every year, it will be important to make efforts to contain its effects weather changes and prevent large fires such as those striking Australia, in order to affect the presence of this essential gas for all living things as little as possible.

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Earl Warner

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