As I watch the TV news on these hot summer days, I marvel, in a sort of shocked way, at the acres of bare human flesh exposed to the harsh sunlight.- Australians of all ages, frolicking at the beaches. Don't they know about skin cancer? Don't they care?
Like the mythical mass suicide of lemmings, do they frolic to their doom.?
In a slower sort of frolic, Australia under the Abbott government no longer seems to know or care, about climate change.
Science is finding new connections between global warming and the ozone hole, and skin cancer, especially in Australia.
Australia has just had its hottest year on record. Global warming is happening, whether or not one argues about the cause. The hole in the ozone layer is still there, even though talk of that has gone out of fashion. And there's skin cancer on the increase 2 common forms, and the less common melanoma, and another nasty rare one, that is becoming less rare in Australia.
What are the connections here?
Well, first of all,- ozone depletion and skin cancer It is the ozone layer in the stratosphere that protects life on earth from most of the ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation is the big cause of skin cancers. So, less ozone means more UV radiation reaching us, and hence, more skin cancers.
Ozone depletion and climate change. We've always been told that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica was caused by human emissions of ozone-depleting substances, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and that, through the Montreal Protocol of 1989, these emissions would be curtailed, and the hole would gradually decrease. As far as attributing a cause of depletion of ozone, - this is substantially true.
However, the "ozone hole" has not decreased much at all, despite the stopping of CFC emissions. Now scientists are finding that meteorological factors play a role. The expected recovery of the ozone layer is not yet happening. Temperature and winds drive annual changes in ozone hole size.
Temperature and winds not only affect fluctuations in the size of the ozone layer hole. They are themselves affected by global warming, and they then bring about changes in the ozone layer. Greenhouse gas emissions bring about a sort of heat trapping"blanket" in the atmosphere, as these emissions increase, more heat is trapped. That means that less heat escapes back into the stratosphere layer above the Earth's atmosphere. The result is a cooling effect on the stratosphere and an increase in the polar stratospheric cloud (PSC).
That in turn causes the loss of more ozone.
This article is not attempting to say that by addressing climate change,we are going to prevent skin cancer, although it is pretty clear that the faster Australia heats up, the greater will be the incidence of skin cancer. (So, on that basis alone, it would be a good idea to get on to a global drive to fight climate change.)
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