Earth Sciences and Ecology Question #357

Kathryn H., a 16 year old female from the Internet asks on March 10, 1998,

Are there any conflicting scientific views about the ozone 'hole' over the Antarctic?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on March 10, 1998

The Cambridge University Centre for Atmospheric Science has an excellent "Ozone Hole Tour" which provides a wealth of information about the Antarctic ozone hole. Here is what one of their scientists wrote in response to my inquiry about conflicting views about the ozone hole: "The data presented in the first sections of the tour are not 'our' results. They are from published and well researched material. None of the text is the tour is controversial or in dispute. We don't put that kind of material on the web. All of the theory presented in the tour is well established and accepted by international bodies such as the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). Any critical or cynical voices are just publicity seeking quite frankly.

There are gaps in our understanding, however, but these are more concerned with details rather than the basic approach which the tour presents. For instance the precise makeup or polar stratospheric clouds is currently the subject of much scientific research.

As for our research, it's been established through the usual peer review process and compared with observational data. Again, there are no questions as to whether it's right or wrong - only the fine detail is not so well understood. Our models (and those of other groups) can reproduce the ozone hole in Antarctica and compare well with data. Currently research is more focussed on the ozone loss at mid-latitudes which is not so well understood as the Antarctica ozone hole." --Dr. Glenn Carver, Senior Research Associate, Centre for Atmospheric Science, Chemistry Dept., Cambridge University, UK For more information, check out the World Meteorological Association website and go to their publications link. There are at least two reviews of the ozone problem.

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