Monday, November 11, 2013

Ozone Treaty Accidentally Slowed Global Warming

The largest ozone hole ever observed, in September 2006, shows a large area of depleted stratospheric ozone over the South Pole. A phasedown in the use of CFCs was enacted to reverse the loss of ozone, which protects the Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. Click to enlarge. (Credit: NASA)
The Montreal Protocol, a treaty enacted in 1987 to protect the Earth’s thinning ozone layer, has had the unintended benefit of helping to slow the rate of global warming since the mid-1990s, according to a new study published Sunday.  The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, relies on a statistical analysis of global average temperatures as well as greenhouse gas emission trends, including chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, which both break down ozone in the upper atmosphere and help warm the climate.

The study is unique in that it does not rely on the computer models used in most research to identify the causes of particular temperature fluctuations, which are broadly known as “climate attribution” studies, and its conclusions bolster the findings of many of the modeling studies.  In tracing the emissions of greenhouse gases throughout the past century and comparing those records to global surface temperature data, the new study also showed that the two World Wars and economic depression, along with the post-World War Two economic boom, each had a unique influence on the global climate.

Ozone Treaty Accidentally Slowed Global Warming: Study

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