Ozone Layer Shifting, More UV Radiation in Tropics and Antarctica Predicted by Physicists
Image: World Meteorological Organization
Northern Countries Will See Changes Too
Physicists at the University of Toronto are predicting, in a piece published in Nature Geoscience, that the impact on the ozone layer caused by climate change will lead to changes in the distribution of UV radiation on Earth. Some places will see a reducton in UV, such as northern regions like Siberia, Scandinavia, and northern Canada. Other places will see an increase, like the tropics and Antarctica.
Science Daily writes:
Using a sophisticated computer model, Hegglin and U of T physicist Theodore Shepherd determined that 21st-century climate change will alter atmospheric circulation, increasing the flux of ozone from the upper to the lower atmosphere and shifting the distribution of ozone within the upper atmosphere. The result will be a change in the amount of UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface which varies dramatically between regions: e.g. up to a 20 per cent increase in UV radiation over southern high latitudes during spring and summer, and a nine per cent decrease in UV radiation over northern high latitudes, by the end of the century.
We know about increased UV because of our previous ozone problems (which aren't all solved, even if the ban of CFCs helped a lot). But what about a decrease? Our intuition might be to think that it's a good thing, but not necessarily. We've evolved in certain conditions, and big changes either way can lead to problems.
For example, lower UV radiation can lead to a smaller production of vitamin D by the human body (already a problem for people living in countries that get little sunlight). Whole ecosystems could be affected by this (there are all kinds of unforeseen consequences to global warming....).