“It is a real horrible place.” That’s how NASA atmospheric scientist Paul Newman describes an alternative world:
A NASA study about ozone-munching chemicals from aerosol sprays and refrigeration used a computer model to play a game of what-if. What if the world 22 years ago didn’t agree to cut back on chlorofluorocarbons which cause a seasonal ozone hole to form near the South Pole?
…In mid-latitudes like Washington, DNA-damaging ultraviolet radiation would have increased more than sixfold. Just 5 minutes in the summer sunshine would have caused a sunburn, instead of 15. Typical midsummer UV levels, now around 10 or 11, would have soared to 30. Summer thunderstorms in the Northern Hemisphere would have been much stronger.
Nice to know that a little foresight can pay off. There must be a lesson. What could it be? Oh:
Newman, the co-chair of the protocol’s scientific panel, said the study provides hope that the world can do the same thing on another looming but even harder to solve environmental problem: Global warming.
[Image: This is not a spray can by badjonni]