Arctic threat

Unusual polar weather could cause ozone loss

Published: Monday 28 February 2005

The ozone layer over northern Europe will likely witness a severe thinning in the coming weeks, predict scientists from the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit, located in the Cambridge University, UK, campus.

They have spotted unusual weather conditions over the Arctic, which is witnessing its coldest winter in 50 years and an abnormal cloud activity, according to a BBC report. This, they believe, will enhance the way human-made chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons react with the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

The scientists say these meteorological activities resemble or surpass the conditions of the 1999-2000 winter, when the worst-ever ozone loss to date was observed.

The conditions, they fear, will cause the low ozone areas to spread southwards over northern Europe. Destruction of ozone increases the risk of diseases such as skin cancer.

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