Ozone Hole Science Revisited

Scientists are commemorating the discovery 20 years ago that man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used chiefly in refrigerators and air-conditioners were responsible for creating the "ozone hole" over the Antarctic. The scientists concluded that CFCs would drift into the stratosphere where they would produce chlorine compounds that react with ice particles and sunlight to efficiently destroy ozone molecules that shield the surface from ultraviolet light streaming from the sun. In 1987, the world adopted the Montreal Protocol to eventually eliminate the production of CFCs. Activists often cite the Montreal Protocol as a model for a future treaty addressing man-made global warming by banning the emission of greenhouse gases. A Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded in 1995 to the three scientists who identified the ozone/CFC connection.

This neat story of the scientific identification of a man-made cause for stratospheric ozone depletion followed by a successful international response to the threat is now being challenged by some very recent research. News@nature.com (sub required) is reporting a new analysis by Markus Rex, an atmosphere scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany, which finds that the data for the break-down rate of a crucial molecule, dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2) is almost an order of magnitude lower than the currently accepted rate.

What this could mean according to the Nature news article is that:

"This must have far-reaching consequences," Rex says. "If the measurements are correct we can basically no longer say we understand how ozone holes come into being." What effect the results have on projections of the speed or extent of ozone depletion remains unclear.

The rapid photolysis of Cl2O2 is a key reaction in the chemical model of ozone destruction developed 20 years ago2 (see graphic). If the rate is substantially lower than previously thought, then it would not be possible to create enough aggressive chlorine radicals to explain the observed ozone losses at high latitudes, says Rex. The extent of the discrepancy became apparent only when he incorporated the new photolysis rate into a chemical model of ozone depletion. The result was a shock: at least 60% of ozone destruction at the poles seems to be due to an unknown mechanism, Rex told a meeting of stratosphere researchers in Bremen, Germany, last week.

Other groups have yet to confirm the new photolysis rate, but the conundrum
is already causing much debate and uncertainty in the ozone research community. "Our understanding of chloride chemistry has really been blown apart," says John Crowley, an ozone researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.

"Until recently everything looked like it fitted nicely," agrees Neil Harris, an atmosphere scientist who heads the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. "Now suddenly it's like a plank has been pulled out of a bridge." ...

Nothing currently suggests that the role of CFCs must be called into question, Rex stresses. "Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss. But we would be on much firmer ground if we could write down the correct chemical reactions."

Of course, it may be that Rex's research has gone wrong somehow or that another chemical mechanism involving CFCs will turn out to be chiefly responsible for ozone depletion. Nevertheless, it is good to keep in mind that all scientific results are provisional and may change in the light of new evidence.

By the way, for anyone who cares about my own take on the ozone hole/CFC issue, in chapter 8 of my 1993 book, Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse, I concluded:

Despite a great deal of continuing scientific uncertainty, it appears that CFCs do contribute to the creation of the Antarctic ozone hole and perhaps to a tiny amount of global ozone depletion. If CFCs were allowed to build up in the atmosphere during the next century, ozone depletion might eventually entail significant costs. More ultraviolet light reaching the surface would require adaptation—switching to new crop varieties, for example—and it might boost the incidence of nonfatal skin cancer. In light of these costs, it makes sense to phase out the use of CFCs.

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  • ||

    Does anyone know why CFCs only deplete the 'good' ozone in the upper atmosphere but not the 'bad' ozone that contributes to global warming?

    This is a serious question...I have never understood this dochotomy.

    MDH

  • ||

    Neither are true. There are not enough CFCs in the lower atmosphere to do anything and NONE have been demonstrated in the upper atmosphere.

  • ||

    "Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss."

    OK.

  • ||

    "Overwhelming evidence?" Since neither NOAA nor NASA have ever demonstrated a single molecule of CFCs in the upper atmosphere, how can the evidence be "overwhelming?" The entire myth of anthropogenic ozone loss is based on the fact that CFCs do, in fact, destroy ozone in the laboratory. However, since ozone molecules are unstable anyway with a half-life of just 12 seconds, this destruction is negligible. This is why Al Gore has switched from lie #1 (Ozone Depletion) to lie #2 (global warming). Wake up people and use your common sense!

  • TS||

    Certainly Ed. My common sense really tells me that 12 seconds must be right....

    well, fortunately science is based on facts, not on imagination!

  • lunchstealer||

    In light of these costs, it makes sense to phase out the use of CFCs.

    You're just schilling for big sense and big phase.

  • ||

    You have to understand that the earth was at the optimal temperature and there was a complete "balance" of nature until humans (boo, hiss) developed TOOLS AND FIRE (dismay, much wailing).

    That said, I'm a rational environmentalist. I figger the jury's still out on this one, and the unavailability of CFCs can hardly be considered catastrophic. Nuance, I can do that sometimes. ;-)

  • ||

    I thought the bad ozone was at ground level and contributed to poor air quality.

  • lunchstealer||

    MDH,

    IANAC, but here goes.

    It mostly has to do with volumes of ozone and the lifespan of that ozone. Ozone is a very unstable molecule, in both the lower and upper atmosphere.

    Polution ozone in cities is produced daily from unburned hydrocarbons interacting with sunlight. Those hydrocarbons are released into the atmosphere through incomplete burning in automobiles and lawn mowers and other small engines, and also escape from poorly sealed gastanks and when you fill your gastank, or spill gasoline while filling your tank.

    The ozone created, in the high-temperature/pressure, high-O2 environment of the lower atmosphere, is fairly short-lived, but huge amounts are produced each day as all our unburned gasoline vapors react with sunlight. Almost all that ozone decays or disipates overnight, and new ozone is produced from new gasoline vapors the next day. Any chlorine radicals released by CFCs never have time to react with the O3.

    Upper-atmospheric (good) O3, however, is produced as high-energy photons hit O2 molecules in the upper atmosphere. At the much lower pressure (and possibly temperature - I'm not sure on this point) in the upper atmosphere, the O3 will take much longer to decay to O2. The 03 is also produced much more slowly than at low-level. Therefore, the original theory goes, chlorine radicals released from CFCs at high altitudes can dramatically increase the rate of decay of O3 in the ozone layer.

    Anybody who knows more can correct any details in this.

  • ||

    The only thing I have to say about this is that neither NOAA nor NASA have ever demonstrated a single CFC molecule in the upper atmosphere where O3 is made. The stuff is six times heavier than air and cannot float up!

  • ||

    In light of these costs, it makes sense to phase out the use of CFCs.

    AAY! Get out of here you god damned hippie.

  • Steven||

    There is no Ozone depletion. It is just a liberal plot to keep Bush from fighting for our freedoms in Iraq. Ozone depletion is caused by Iraqi terrorists because of the smoke from the 911 incident.

  • Guy Montag||

    So how long before I get to set up the hybrid 1972 Dodge Charger with the original equipment AC and the Freon that really works, instead of this new stuff?

    Do I get ozone credits for running an organic hydrogen powered 318 and no catalytic converter?

  • ||

    Other groups have yet to confirm the new photolysis rate



    Until that happens, I can't say that I'm too worried about the state of ozone science. This finding is interesting and it's good that people are continually checking basic assumptions, but I'll wait to see if others can replicate his work before I believe him.

    However, if he's right, then he's certainly working at an institute with the appropriate name.

  • ed||

    Too bad we always have to wait 20 years to question (if not discredit) mandates based on precautionary principles. The same folks who would cite the imperfect and ongoing nature of scientific inquiry in defense of the Montreal Protocol are not so charitable when it comes to the science of climate change and man's role in the current cycle, which, as we know, is "settled."

  • ||

    lunchstealer,

    Thanks...seems like a reasonable starting point.

    MDH

  • JN||

    CFC's are heavier than air. They cannot float up to the upper atmosphere. Are they blown up there in the wind?

  • Shannon Love||

    The dirty secret of ozone layer science is that we have never been able to accurately predict the real world reactivity of ozone destroying compound in atmosphere. We've had to make wild ass guesses based on highly unrepresentative laboratory experiments.

    Like most chemical reactions, the catalytic destruction of ozone by CFC's requires a reactive surface i.e. some kind of surface against which the the molecules can be compressed, for the chemical reaction to take place. Such surfaces can be dust, ice or the laboratory container in which we study the reactions. The presence of such reactive surfaces accelerates the catalytic destruction of ozone by several orders of magnitude.

    All major thinning of the ozone layer track to changes in catalytic surfaces, not changes in CFC concentrations. Volcanic eruptions "tear" the ozone layer by lofting megatons of fine particles into the ozone layer. The "hole" in the Antarctic ozone layer correlates with the unusual formation of high altitude ice crystals due to unusual cold.

    Likewise, when we try to reproduce the activity of CFCs in the lab, the sides of the container we must place it in serves as a massive reactive surface increasing the apparent reactivity of CFCs massively. AS a result we cannot experimentally confirm the reactivity of CFCs in the actual atmosphere by experiments in ground based labs.

    Personally, I think the thinning in the ozone layer will turn out to be driven by changes in the UV luminosity of the sun linked to solar magnetosphere (sunspot)) activity. The thinning of the ozone layer began shortly after the solar activity increased dramatically in the 1960's to its historically unprecedented high levels today.

  • Guy Montag||

    Just remembered the DUMBEST ozone item I have ever heard: "the Soviet SST will rip holes in the ozone layer above the United States and give us cancer."

    From a fellow student in the late 1970s/early 1980s and I did call BS on it at the time (still do). He did not seem to understand the way gasses are different from solids, details like that. Never did find the source for that myth either.

  • ||

    I would like to replicate AC's point.

    Replication is needed before this is important.

    Somebody is already working on it.

  • ||

    The interesting thing is that the ozone hole was discovered when they started looking because they had instrumants that were able to make the measurements. Since it was first observed its size has fluctuated, bigger some years, smaller others.

    Nobody has made any observations that show that there was no ozone hole.

    Sort of runs into the observation above about ice crystals. Could it be that the ozone hole has just always been there and that its existence has nothing to do with CFCs?

    Don't know if Mother Earth has benefitted from the ban but Dupont Chemical has. Its patent on freon had run out so it couldn't collect the license fees anymore.

  • ||

    While we're asking serious questions:

    Why do we only hear about the Antarctic ozone hole? Shouldn't the effect be larger at the Arctic, with its closer proximity to more CFC spewing industrial centers?

  • Shannon Love||

    mobile,

    Shouldn't the effect be larger at the Arctic, with its closer proximity to more CFC spewing industrial centers?

    The primary driver for the thinning of the ozone over the Antarctic is the relatively stagnate air mass over the Antarctic. Ozone is generated by UV radiation at the equator and then transported to the poles buy upper atmospheric circulation. During winter months the Antarctic depends on imports of ozone from the equator.

    The Arctic does see some thinning but the circulation between the north pole and equator seems to be much more powerful that with the south pole. Enough ozone gets imported to offset the lose due to winter.

    The relative abundance of CFC's anywhere is generally a poor predictor of the level of ozone thinning. Other factors play a much larger role.

  • Guy Montag||

    Don't know if Mother Earth has benefitted from the ban but Dupont Chemical has. Its patent on freon had run out so it couldn't collect the license fees anymore.

    Frigidaire was issued the first patent, US#1,886,339, for the formula for CFCs on December 31, 1928.

    Aren't US patents good for about 17 years and there is no option for renewal?

    Yea, good thing they banned Freon in 1987, 52 years after the patent on the formula ran out. Whew! Got some international help dodging that bullet!

  • ||

    Dupont is always a good standin for corporationy corporations who, you know, act all corporationy.

    Dupont? Frigidaire? meh, all part of the multinational corporate conspiracy to profit from the misery of the people, man. :)

    Note, not to be taken seriously.

    The question about whether finding some phenomen when you have instruments to measure it and have nothing to compare it to historically was meant seriously.

  • ||

    In other words is there any evidence that the ozone hole is not an absolutely natural phenomenon which has always been there but wasn't noticed until someone had instruments which could detect it.

    Shannon Love's comments suggest that it may be exactly that.

  • Guy Montag||

    |,

    I suggest it is a product of the industrial revolution. There is no record of an ozone layer, giving us extra protection from UV radiation, before the industrial revolution.

    The Al Gores of the world will destroy the ozone by their ill-cococted "green revolution."

  • ||

    Don't forget that there were ozonesonde measurements made over Antarctica in the Intl Geophysical Year (1957-58) that showed ozone depletion -- many years before CFCs were invented!

    I've also been suspicious that 20 years after the Montreal Protocol there hasn't been much change in the "hole." One would think that after all the phase-outs that some improvement would have occurred -- IF it's the CFCs causing the problem.

  • Guy Montag||

    Surf guy,

    Don't forget that there were ozonesonde measurements made over Antarctica in the Intl Geophysical Year (1957-58) that showed ozone depletion -- many years before CFCs were invented!

    Scroll up a bit. 1957 was 22 years after the patent on CFCs expired. But I do like your spirit!

  • John Ringo||

    Huh.

    I thought that the alternate (Reasonable) rationale for ozone holes was fairly well established.

    Ozone in the upper atmosphere is caused by high energy rays from the sun hitting oxygen molecules and causing O3 to form. The process has to happen continuously because, as a previous poster noted, Ozone is unstable.

    The Ozone hole in the antarctic only forms during the antarctic winter.

    When there's no sunlight.

    And as others noted, the hole hasn't changed much. We only found it when we had the instruments to do so (appropriate satellites) and as far as we know it's been there for all time.

    Well, as long as we've had a 23 degree axial tilt.
    :-)

  • ||

    Hypothetically, assume we observed massive amounts of ozone thickening, to the point that not enough UV light was getting through. Would the same people that ran to ban CFCs try to enact government regulations requiring us to output more CFCs to reduce the excess ozone?

    I think it is safe to say that they wouldn't. This makes me think that hard science is not at play but some political/social/economic motive is.

  • ||

    The back story behind the CFC ban is a fascinating one. CFCs are wonderful industrial chemicals. They are unbelievably stable. If you don't have a leak in the system, there is no reason to ever replace them in an air conditioning system. By the mid 1970s industrial air conditioning systems had become extremely long lived and reliable. Further, the world had been air conditioned for the most part. This created a problem for the four or five big chemical companies (Dow, BASF and the like) that made CFCs; the bottom was falling out of their market. There were replacement chemicals for CFCs but they were not as good and they were more expensive. It was about this time that the first ozone research began to appear. Some very smart person at Dow realized that this could be a ticket to billions. If CFCs were banned, that would mean that all the new systems built would have to use the inferior more expensive replacements and all of the existing AC units would have to be replaced because there would be no way to replenish the CFC in them if they ever had a leak.

    As a result, the few companies that made CFCs started funding the Ozone research and got the world wide ban on them passed in just a few years. The CFC ban was the fastest approved international environmental treaty ever because the industry that was most effected by it stood to make billions and consisted entirely of huge multinationals. Now come to find out that they may have been wrong. I can't think of a stronger scientific "consensus" than the belief that CFCs caused ozone depletion. Wow. I can't say that I blame the scientists because this stuff is really hard and complex. It might be nice if the policy makers would appreciate that fact rather than believing anything anyone in a lab coat tells them.

    I will give you an interesting piece of trivia Ron. The same Dupont chemist Thomas Midgley, invented both CFCs and PCBs in the 1920s and 30s.

  • ||

    "In light of these costs, it makes sense to phase out the use of CFCs"

    In the future, you might want to change that to "phase out the UNNECESSARY use of (fill in name of evil chemical created to destroy humanity in the name of corporate profit)".

    While there are substitutes for most CFC applications, banning the use of Halon (for example) is definitely going to result in some people dying a rather grisly death. It won't be the 40+ million dead because of the program to ban DDT instead of limiting it to necessary applications, but it could still be significant.

  • ||

    J,

    Some of the fanaticism on CFCs was inexcusable. Using the things in firefighting chemicals was not going to destroy the ozone. There was no reason to ban it in them. Good luck trying to convince the greenies of that.

  • ||

    Dang. You would publish this one day after I wrote a check for an air conditioner that cost three times what the one I bought 11 years ago cost.

  • Guy Montag||

    John,

    Do you have something to back up your claim, other than more conjecture, or are we to just believe it because corporations are "evil?"

  • Eric B.||

    I'm normally not an anti-"Big Evil Corporation" guy, but I have to go along with John's comments on the Freon producers playing a part in the ozone-depletion myth. Big companies know a good thing when they see it, and when an opportunity to create a new market comes along, the lobbyists kick into high-gear. Look at corn-based methanol. the politicians are falling all over themselves to get on that train. Using corn for methanol production is going to be terrible for this country, stealing our farming resources away from food production, and driving up prices on all of our staples. The companies that benefit, the corn-producers and the fertilizer and hybrid corn developers are pumping millions into the efforts to pass methanol bills. The whole global warming movement is a similar phenomenon. All you have to do is follow the money.

  • M. Simon||

    Banning CFCs was a big boon to DuPont. Their patents had run out. Not to worry, they had less efficient patented refrigerants ready to go.

  • M. Simon||

    Since the new refrigerants were less efficient they were contributing to global warming, if you believe the warmists.

  • ||

    Context and perspective govern here, as in all else. First: What is the pattern of Antarctic "ozone holes" over (say) AD 1325 - c. 1875 (the Little Ice Age)? If this is a cyclical, recurring phenomenon, it cannot be anthrogenic. If data is not available, meaning "we don't know", speculative hypotheses are meaningless.

    As with the "Hockey Stick" graph and NASA's Soros-funded disinformation debacle on global temperature from about 1930 [a ridiculously short time-frame], both debunked by Steven McIntyre, this Ozone Depletion schtick reeks of alarmist eco-whelps.

    What partisan propagandists all ignore is that objective reality governs natural processes. Over some 10-million years, due primarily to plate-tectonic dispositions (continents walling off Eastern from Western hemisphers), glaciations have come and gone with clockwork precision, averaging 11,500 - 12,500 years between.

    Depending on how one counts the Younger Dryas, Earth today is 1,500 years overdue to end our current interglacial, which should have terminated with the Roman Empire. In 2113 we shall intersect an annular ring of intra-solar dust, as happens every 800 years. Last episode occurred in 1313, when 10 - 12 years of failed harvests tipped every civilized culture on the planet to destruction (think Black Death, Mongol hordes, drought and pestilence).

    Anyone, researcher or layman, who takes inflated "ozone hole" prognostications seriously is either dishonest or a fool.

  • ||

    In my opinion, the continuing emissions of volatile material and gases from Mt Erebus on Ross Island in Antarctica, is responsible for any variability in the density of the ozonosphere in the southern hemisphere. CFCs, although chemically active, play a very insignificant role.

    Eruptions like Krakatau in 1883, St Helens in 1980, and Pinatubo in 1991 are all known to have emitted millions of tons of particulate matter and gasses into the atmosphere causing changes in both climate and atmosphere.

    Three questions to ask about the entire CFC scare are what patents expired, and who held the patents on their replacements, and who funded the research.

  • Jack Secret||

    What John Ringo said. Environmentalism - all of it - is the biggest crock in the history of man.

  • Shannon Love||

    I doubt that some corporations started the anti-CFC craze but I also have few doubts that amplified it.

    I remember the debate quite well back in the 80's because I was in college back then as a biology major. One of the big political selling points of the entire matter was that the companies who produced the CFC replacement technology told everyone how cheap and easy it was going to be. I think the companies recognized the profit potential of a replacing easily manufactured/public domain technology with their difficult to manufacture/proprietary technology. I don't think there was any kind of sinister conspiracy, just companies seeking to profit from the political winds.

    One can be sure however, that should the CFC ban turn out to be a false alarm, greens will blame the entire episode on the corporations who benefited from it.

  • ||

    "I don't think there was any kind of sinister conspiracy, just companies seeking to profit from the political winds."

    There wasn't a sinister conspiracy as much as a combination of people who had an interest in the same end. Go back and look at the history of the CFC treaty. It is amazing. Nothing ever gets done that quick. People were doing this research in the 1970s and coming to the conclusion that CFCs were destroying the ozone. The chemical companies picked up on it and started funding and publicizing the research. The greens admit that they could have never gotten that a ban of CFCs done that quickly without the help and muscle of the chemical industry. I don't think that that makes the corporations evil or sinister. They just say an opportunity and took it.

    Guy,

    My source for that story is from a prof I had when I was getting my masters in environmental law. My prof worked on the original CFC ban treaty and is probably the country's formost expert on air pollution law. I consider it very reliable.

  • ||

    i have two questions:
    1. aren't cfc's much heavier than air, making them less likely to be found in the upper atmosphere?
    2. wouldn't an internal-combustion engine with a catalytic converter make a nice reaction vessel for the heavier-than-air cfc's and ozone?
    marty

  • ||

    It seems to me that the application of just a soupcon of common sense would make any reasonable person realize that the core idea is preposterous.

    I thought so twenty years ago and, if A. Einstein can back from the dead and told me it was true, I still wouldn't believe it.

  • ||

    The problem has economic consequences that have not been addressed.

    1. CFCs are 20-30% more efficient in air conditioning units. Create: Cost of switching to less efficient air conditioners as more and more affluent (middle class) people buy more and more air conditioners around the world.

    2. Create: Cost of need for more electricity + 20-30% less efficiency of newer air conditioners. Granted this is small in comparison to overall electricity consumption but it may remove savings from other forms of alternatively generated electricity.

    3. Create: Cost of global warming driving the acquisition of more and more air conditioners + 20-30% less efficiency in air conditioners. Aaarrrrrgggghhhh!

    By the way there is a more efficient refrigerent than CFCs by 20%-30% (making the current refrigerants look far worse) it is
    anhydrous ammonia, but its volatility and poisonousness if released made it undesirable as a refrigerant.

    The Law of Unintended Consequences. Sigh.

  • ||

    So, the cost of your new air conditioner will be 20-30% more than the old one for 2 reasons, it must be bigger to hold more refrigerant to do the same job as your old one. And two, it will use 20-30% more electricity to do the same job.

    I think the air conditioner companies are the ones making the profit, not you and me, from this.

    If the air conditioner companies have been able to make the air conditioners more efficient this may be a wash, but I still think they will cost as much or more than previously. Especially, since the new refrigerants are also more costly to make and probably have just as bad or worse effects on the environment during manufacture and in use.

    Now think of these costs on a growing global market scale and you have an idea what these rules have already cost and are likely to cost in the future as more, but less efficient, air conditioners are bought.

    The Law of Unintended Consequences. Sigh!

  • ||

    Are Air Conditioners are getting less efficient?

    The efficiently of Air Conditioners in rated in SEERs which is something like BTUs of cooling divided by watt-hours to produce the cooling.

    SEERs have been going up for years.

  • TallDave||

    I think we're all avoiding the elephant in the room. There is a chemical so deadly it has killed more people than all others combined, yet thanks to corporate greed and political corruption, it is still commmonly used by nearly every industry. It is most responsible for global warming, may cause ozone depletion, and in one well-publicized incident a few years ago, it killed 250,000 people (the corporate mediaof course played down the role of this chemical, protecting industry by blaming seismic activity).

    That's right, I'm talking about the deadliest chemical on Earth: dihydrogen monoxide, or DHMO.

    Fortunately, you can help stop the deaths of innocent people all over the world. Write your Congressperson today and tell them you support a ban on dihydrogen monoxide!

    http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html

  • ||

    "Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss. But we would be on much firmer ground if we could write down the correct chemical reactions."

    If we don't even know the chemical reactions involved, how in @*$&* do we know that "anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss"? It's ridiculous!j

    That's what happens when science and data take a back seat to panic or the received wisdom. It's happened before and will happen again (global *cough* warming *cough*).

    Not too long ago - just a few decades - virtually every astronomer "knew" the sun was 66% iron. Dissenters were ridiculed and their careers crushed like bugs. Once the dissenters were proven right, turns out everyone had known it all along!

  • Eric B||

    DMHO, funny! Hey JSC, you spoke of Mt. Erebus like you've been there. Have you? I made 3 trips to "the ice" some years back. Old Mt. Erebus was smokin all the time.

  • ||

    Are the DuPont bashers aware that DuPont simply ate the substantial development costs of the CFC replacements, and then gave them away without any charge to whoever wants to manufacture them?

  • DirtCrashr||

    It's the Van Allen Belts! They're squeezin' too tight and the magnetic radiation from the iron-sun is leaking out!

  • Scooby||

    Jack Secret: Environmentalism - all of it - is the biggest crock in the history of man.

    All of it? Even not dumping trash on the side of the road? Even not dumping out hazardous chemicals into the atmosphere and rivers, streams and oceans? Even not hunting and fishing species into extinction? Even a metric shitload of other examples of unnecessary, uneconomic waste and abuses of common resources?

    Knee-jerk environmentalism is stupid- almost as stupid as knee-jerk anti-environmentalism.



    Norm: SEERs have been going up for years.

    The efficiency gains are due to better machinery & machining (more efficient types compressors made with closer tolerances than possible in the past)- that improve efficiency at all loads, and more sophisticated controls (variable frequency drives on compressors and fans, multiple compressors, variable refrigerant valves, etc.)- that increase efficiency at part loads. SEER is a rating that takes into account efficiency at part load. The machinery spends all but about 2% of the time at part load, so the more complex controls have done a lot to improve SEERs.

    These efficiency gains have been made in spite of the use of inferior refrigerants, not because of their use.


    The anthropogenic ozone depletion issue was/is a religious belief, much like the current anthropogenic climate change issue. Skepticism is treated as heresy. There may or may be something to each. I'm somewhat agnostic myself, and got bawled out by my thermodynamics professor for expressing doubt in the ozone depleting chemicals theory, shortly after Montreal went into effect. I'd love to be able to call him up and return the favor, but he's since retired. If better data shows up, I might have to look him up and give him a call.

  • ||

    Incidentally, the Columbia astronauts would like to argue the point that banning CFCs was harmless.

  • Shannon Love||

    Dwayne Dibley,

    Are the DuPont bashers aware that DuPont simply ate the substantial development costs of the CFC replacements, and then gave them away without any charge to whoever wants to manufacture them?

    The older a chemical compound is the easier it is to synthesize it with contemporary technology. There is a larger talent pool of people who understand how it is made. Conversely, new compounds require specialized skill and resources.

    It may not matter if no one else has the technical expertise and infrastructure to produce the replacements at a competitive price. A great chef can tell me how to make his signature dish but that doesn't mean I have the skills and resources to sell it for a profit in my own restaurant.

  • Ben||

    Dihydrogen Monoxide... Two H's and one O... H2O...
    Clever.

  • ||

    Dihydrogen Monoxide... Two H's and one O... H2O...
    Clever.


    You'd be surprised how often people get suckered by that one.

  • ||

    J sub D - Could you please tell me what the optimal earth temperature is and how is that determined? Also, last time I checked, man was part of nature too.

  • Guy Montag||

    John,

    My source for that story is from a prof I had when I was getting my masters in environmental law. My prof worked on the original CFC ban treaty and is probably the country's formost expert on air pollution law. I consider it very reliable.

    Thanks for that. Now, does this guy have a name? Is his documentation available anyplace? Has he published anything on this backed up by more than a bunch of innuendo? You know, like I respectfully asked for the first time?

  • Guy Montag||

    Eric B,

    Thank you. One of my favorites :)

  • Ron||

    One of the truly unfortunate side effects of the CFC ban is the effects on the inhaled medications, especially those for asthma. The newer HFA formulations aren't nearly as good, require cleansing of the inhaler and go "bad" after 60 days in some cases. Most of the generic inhalers for asthma will cease to exist and the expensive branded inhalers will take over the market.

  • Guy Montag||

    One of the truly unfortunate side effects of the CFC ban is the effects on the inhaled medications, especially those for asthma. The newer HFA formulations aren't nearly as good, require cleansing of the inhaler and go "bad" after 60 days in some cases. Most of the generic inhalers for asthma will cease to exist and the expensive branded inhalers will take over the market.

    Great . . . Now the drug manufacturer conspirators will be jumping in to add their conspiracy theories.

  • ||

    "Nothing currently suggests that the role of CFCs must be called into question, Rex stresses"

    In legal circles, if the Facts are against you, you argue the Law. In politics, as we now know, you argue Fake but Accurate.


    Orion on Dihydrogen Monoxide:

    "You'd be surprised how often people get suckered by that one."

    Reminds me of a glossy Monsanto(?) ad from wayback. Underneath a photo of a perfect orange, they listed its grocery-store-style "Ingredients" by their chemical formulations. Without the photo, I'd have figured the thing would kill you on the spot. Alas, though I wouldn't have signed the anti-DM petition, I'm afraid I have to admit that I'd have gone googling for more info when I got home.


    Grimmy:

    "Once the dissenters were proven right, turns out everyone had known it all along!"

    Hindsight Bias Rulz!

  • ||

    Nothing currently suggests that the role of CFCs must be called into question, Rex stresses. "Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss. But we would be on much firmer ground if we could write down the correct chemical reactions."



    Did the CFC conspiracy theorists even read this paragraph?

  • Shannon Love||

    Boris,

    The crucial scientific debate over the degree to which CFCs erode the ozone layer hinges on the actual chemical activity of CFCs in the environment of the upper atmosphere. This study shows that they are significantly less active than previous acknowledged by most.

    If reproduced, this means the models on which the ozone ban were based turned were flawed exaggerations. Most of the thinning comes from natural sources.

    Perhaps CFCs weren't the pants wetting emergency they were portrayed as back in the 80's.

  • ||

    "Incidentally, the Columbia astronauts would like to argue the point that banning CFCs was harmless.



    Ian,
    If you are going to speak for the departed, please take more care in your comments. The Bipods were coated with foam that used Freon, as NASA was exempt from EPA regulations. Banning CFCs did not doom Columbia, as much as you might wish to blame their high-profile deaths on the environmental movement.

  • ||

    As always, there is an in-between answer that doesn't cost all that much on balance, and is a decent solution. We still don't know, even with the latest data, how much of an issue CFCs were in the seasonal thinning of atmospheric ozone at the pole (there was never a "hole"), and indeed, there are and always were good reasons to be mildly skeptical of the apocalyptic reports.

    But if you look back, there were an awful lot of needless releases of CFCs, that didn't cause much difficulty when banned, and a bunch of other virtually no-risk, or minimal impact, applications that should not have been banned.

    Spray can propellants for hair spray, paint, deodorant, etc., blew a lot of the stuff into the air for no particular good reason, and the substitutes are really not an issue. We all get along fine today with pump sprays and other propellant approaches. CFCs were used in open systems all over as industrial solvents, for cleaning printed wiring boards after wave soldering, and we have replacement approaches now that do an OK job.

    But CFCs should never have been banned in closed system refrigerators, it would have been good enough to simply require that when junking a refrigeration unit the coolant be recovered before disposal, along with improving the leak characteristics of auto units (heck, as a consumer I want that fixed, auto ACs leak way too much for no great reasons). Nor should they have been banned in medical inhalers for the reasons cited (I have asthma myself), the release volume involved was meaningless- just another "green feel-virtuous" opportunity for Federal regulators. And, sorry folks, DuPont did indeed (still does) do very well on CFC-134 now that the generic competition of good old Freon is gone.

    This story is very similar to that of DDT- there was a potential issue, and the big government people used it to make life worse on balance and grab more power, when some modest controls on external environmental usage would have resolved virtually any actual problem.

    And there are a hundred other stories in the Naked City just like these...

  • ||

    There is a lot of political posturing going on in the comments section here so if someone were _truely_ interested in the science I would suggest that they look elsewhere. Some answers.

    Comment: http://www.reason.com/blog/show/122712.html#794763
    "Does anyone know why CFCs only deplete the 'good' ozone in the upper atmosphere but not the 'bad' ozone that contributes to global warming?"

    Several reasons but a major reason is the fact that CFCs are stable in the troposphere and are not in the stratosphere (where they get broken down).

    Comment: http://www.reason.com/blog/show/122712.html#795006

    "CFC's are heavier than air. They cannot float up to the upper atmosphere. Are they blown up there in the wind?"

    Basically. The whole troposphere is well mixed and gets globally exchanged over a period of one year. That is why there isn't a layer of CO2 along the Earth's surface.

  • ||

    J:

    "In light of these costs, it makes sense to phase out the use of CFCs"

    In the future, you might want to change that to 'phase out the UNNECESSARY use of (fill in name of evil chemical created to destroy humanity in the name of corporate profit)'.



    Alas, it's tough to drum up widespread support for anything resembling half-measures. Brian Eno offered up the best take on the political realities I've ever heard:

    The central problem of politics: Do you paint simplistic pictures that make people act (and leave them with too simplistic a view of the world) or do you paint baffingly shaded and contingent scenes that leave people paralyzed by indecision?



    J sub D

    You have to understand that the earth was at the optimal temperature and there was a complete "balance" of nature until humans ...

    Could you please tell me what the optimal earth temperature is and how is that determined?



    I'm nobody's green giant, but I don't think there's any reason not to use the obvious fact that human life is sustainable at the current status quo as a working baseline. With the advent of the atom bomb, we began the ongoing process of absorbing and examining the idea that we may actually be powerful enough to alter underlying global dynamics, whether inadvertantly or purposefully, to potentially devasting, and perhaps most disturbingly, to potentially unknown or unpredictable effect.

    I also don't think it's all that hard to define a fairly narrow range of conditions, within the global continuum, under which human existence is possible. Considering how much of that range would be inimicable to life as we know it know it now, I'm not why sure a lot of folks so archly dismiss concern about global trends, just because such changes may be natural and not man-made. The flip-side of destructive power, of course, is its potentially constructive use. While we don't really know for sure whether we've initiated or affected global warming climate change, or not, perhaps we should all be hoping that we can -- just in case the thermometer, as only one obvious example, starts taking the kind of nosedive that the big picture timeline suggests is otherwise inevitably in store.

    There are certainly some negatives in the current fear/guilt/faith based environmental politicking, but I suspect the attention also generates more $$ for research, so it may end up being a net plus. It's my impression that you could hardly find any money for weather modelling a decade or so ago, and a lot of the climate related science has short as well as long term benefits.

  • ||

    Ken

    "There is a lot of political posturing going on in the comments section here...."

    LOL! And I was just thinking how pleasant it was to find people actually talking to each other instead of taking potshots....

  • ||

    Shannon:

    "The primary driver for the thinning of the ozone over the Antarctic is the relatively stagnate air mass over the Antarctic. Ozone is generated by UV radiation at the equator and then transported to the poles buy upper atmospheric circulation. During winter months the Antarctic depends on imports of ozone from the equator."

    So, let me get this straight: The winds blow northward and southward from the equator to the poles? You're saying the wind only blows directly to the poles, do not pass 'Go', do not collect $200 and nowhere else in between is affected, and furthermore, the winds stop at the poles instantaneously, thereby depositing all harmful CFC's in the upper atmosphere?

    The only winds I see blowing here are yours, Shannon!!! This is the biggest piece of liberal brain-wash BS I've read all week! Put you money where your mouth is: Prove it with evidence!!

  • ||

    Oh, I see, because Wikipedia says it is so, it must be true. However, if you read further, you will see that the BX-250 halon foam bipod fell off from where it was attached to the new style, weaker, non-freon foam.
    Perhaps, it is YOU who should be more careful in your comments.
    [quote]
    "Incidentally, the Columbia astronauts would like to argue the point that banning CFCs was harmless.[/quote]

    Ian,
    If you are going to speak for the departed, please take more care in your comments. The Bipods were coated with foam that used Freon, as NASA was exempt from EPA regulations. Banning CFCs did not doom Columbia, as much as you might wish to blame their high-profile deaths on the environmental movement.

  • Shannon Love||

    Don,

    So, let me get this straight: The winds blow northward and southward from the equator to the poles?

    Since Ultraviolet radiation creates slight more ozone than it destroys, more ozone gets created in the sunny regions of the equator. At the poles, ozone is only created during the summer months. As the atmosphere circulates north to south the net transfer is from the equator to the poles.

    During the winter months over the poles, the ozone there degrades largely due to chemical interactions with immediate environment. Ozone is a highly reactive molecule and will simply fall apart on its own given time. It take only a minor nudge to destroy it. The ozone layer over the pole always thins during the winter. When summer returns ozone begins to form again there.

    The thinning of the ozone layer over the arctic has little if nothing to do with CFCs. As many have noted, atmospheric CFC levels are higher over the north pole than the south yet the north experiences significantly less thinning.

    The best explanation for the thinning is that a combination in a lack transfer from the equator combined with the unusually large number of ice crystals forming due to cold. The ice crystals form reactive surfaces which greatly accelerate the decomposition of ozone with or without CFCs.

    CFC are probably a minor contributor to the thinning seen in the southern pole.

  • Jay Manifold||

    John Blake:

    In 2113 we shall intersect an annular ring of intra-solar dust, as happens every 800 years. Last episode occurred in 1313, when 10 - 12 years of failed harvests tipped every civilized culture on the planet to destruction (think Black Death, Mongol hordes, drought and pestilence).



    All rings are "annular"; those words are synonyms. "Intra-solar" would be, er, inside the Sun. We intersect with interplanetary dust streams many times per year; they're called meteor showers and do not cause failed harvests (or failed anything else). There is zero evidence of an 800-year periodicity of civilizational collapse. The Black Death was in the late 1340s. The Mongol hordes did their conquering in the early-to-mid-1200s. The crop failures in the early 1300s in western Europe were caused by excess rainfall, not droughts. The pestilence was the Black Death, 30 years later.

    Yes, my mother did raise me to be your straight man.

    DirtCrashr:

    It's the Van Allen Belts! They're squeezin' too tight and the magnetic radiation from the iron-sun is leaking out!



    Excellent hypothesis.

  • PabloM||

    The "ozone hole" of Antarctica was first discovered by Gordon Dobson in 1957 at Halley Bay ("Forty years' research on atmospheric ozone at Oxford: a history"). It was regarded as a natural curiosity and never given much of a second thought.

    Until the 80s, when the hole was (re-)"discovered" in 1985 and blamed on CFCs, which were banned in 1987. Does anyone really believe that the complex interaction of ozone in the stratosphere over the South Pole was well enough understood in less than 2 years for such drastic action? Clearly no, since 20 years later we don't know what the hell is going on, anthropogenic or otherwise.

    Secondly, banning CFCs did have a cost. We in the developed world did not feel it because we are rich. We paid a little more to substitute CFCs with something else. In the poorer countries, they went without - no refrigerants for food or medicine, surgical instruments not sterilized, etc. They grew sick from lack of medication or got food poisoning from bad food or got infections dirty medical instruments or starved - maybe we could not afford an Atari that year. So yes this action did have a dear cost, just not obvious to us rich, enlightened folk. We're so smart - we know what is best.

    This speaks volumes about what to do with the current global warming crisis - rash action based half-baked information leads to disaster.

  • PabloM||

    "Overwhelming evidence still suggests that anthropogenic emissions of CFCs and halons are the reason for the ozone loss. But we would be on much firmer ground if we could write down the correct chemical reactions."

    For Rex to say anything else could easily cost this guy funding and his job. I know several German scientists being forced out of their jobs in environmental fields since their interests are not scary enough to warrant funding in Europe. We are interviewing them now and they all have the same story - they are seeking "scientific refugee" status in the US.

    Besides, the above quote is somewhat of an oxymoron - overwhelming evidence of man made induced ozone depletion yet tremendous uncertainty about the chemical reactions. Hmm-this does not add up.

  • ||

    pickens,

    Oh, I see, because Wikipedia says it is so, it must be true. However, if you read further, you will see that the BX-250 halon foam bipod fell off from where it was attached to the new style, weaker, non-freon foam.



    Well, one can always go to the original report:

    www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/report/2003/caib-report_vol1_chapter3.pdf

    Wherein one finds this quote:

    Nor does the basic quality of the foam appear to be a concern.



    Read the rest. There's no mention of weakness between the two types of foam.

    Moreover, foam loss occurred well before the changes in foam. Foam loss occurred on 80% of shuttle missions with sufficient imagery to analyze, and the left bipod ramp was lost 10% of the time.

    Again, please stop using the dead to support your anti-environmental conspiracy theories.

  • ||

    In the poorer countries, they went without - no refrigerants for food or medicine, surgical instruments not sterilized, etc.



    So much wrong in one post. Wow. Okay, first nobody went without sterile surgical instruments because of the Montreal Protocol, which actually created a fund to help poorer countries transition to non-CFCs.

    The seminal paper on ozone depletion was 1974, not 1985. Dodson didn't find a hole in 1958.

    Oh, well. Some myths never die, as we see from the DDT nonsense spouted upthread.

  • J. H. Colter||

    OK, someone please help me with my memory. In p-chem in the late 1970s, we learned that ozone was created by UV photons hitting O2 in the upper atmosphere (creating a pair of O- radicals that then attacked a local O2 to form O3). That absorbed the UV, because when the unstable O3 subsequently decayed, it put out IR, not UV. That decay put out O- radicals too, but (30 year old memory here) at a lower energy state, meaning the O- did not have the energy needed to attack the O2 molecules and create another O3, so about the best they could do was find another O- radical and form an O2 molecule.

    That is my memory, hence a premise, of the following conclusions:

    1. If accurate (and it may not just be my memory, hopefully the science has gotten better too), this makes it seem to me that the ozone layer is an effect, not a cause, of UV absorption. This seems consistent with the following theory: Because O3 is very unstable, any UV photon that hits an O3 molecule is going to break it apart, with very little degradation of the energy of the UV photon (hence, little absorption). So it does not seem to me that O3 protects the Earth much, anyway. What protects the Earth is O2, which takes the high energy UV photon hit and breaks apart, to form O3.

    2. If the UV photon does not hit an O2 in the upper atmosphere, it will continue on to Earth, unless it hits an O2 on that path (the O2 gets a lot thicker down this way). Thus, it seems to me the O3 layer will gradually thicken (and get significantly less concentrated), but the actual amount of UV hitting the surface of the earth will be largely unaffected by the O3 layer. If nothing else, the O3 layer may be harder and harder to find, as it extends deeper into the lower atmosphere and at a lower concentration of O3.

    3. The premise behind the CFC ban was that CFCs degrade O3, threatening greater ground level UV. However, considering my premise, if CFCs attack O3, does that reduce UV absorption? In fact, it seems that CFCs rapidly degrading O3 is going to turn a lot more O- radicals loose (though perhaps without sufficient energy), to attack more O2 molecules. That could lead to more O3, at which point I cannot remember the equations, and I guess that is just as well because we may not even know the correct ones, right?

    Anybody have any thoughts as to what is wrong with my picture?

  • ||

    PabloM, the Dobson found the hole in 1957 is an old canard that would do your argument well to eliminate.

    J. H. O2 and O3 interact with different wavelengths of UV.

  • ||

    CFCs cannot "build up" in the atmosphere because they are six times heavier than air and the wind vortices of the Earth are not strong enough to thrust these molecules skyward in any great numbers, especially not 10-20 miles skyward. Actually, the most like place for CFCs to accumulate would be the bottoms of lakes and oceans since they are also heavier than water. I don't want to give the eco-whacks any ideas though! Next thing we'll hear about is that CFCs are depleating deep-ocean life!

  • ||

    Ozone hole, Next Ice Age, Global Warming, now climate change, heck before all that it was nuclear winter.. Until scientist get back to basics and follow the laws of scientific research (something to many have tossed out because they are hores to industry) we will continue to get crap science. Oh wait, who remembers back when they said Television would cause problems with the atmosphere !!
    Until these fools can acurately predict the weather I will continue to believe they are liars.

  • Louis Vuitton 1904 Monogram Be||

    http://www.louisvuitton.be/lou.....-p-14.html Great article and I agree with you that young generation spend a lot of time on social networking sites as now people are quiet interested in sharing their views with other people and there you can get your own group who are interested on the same topic that you are interested in...

  • HamBoy||

    When this scare happened, it was Big news, GIANT ozone hole, skin cancer, scientist figured it out in a snap, CFC ban, Noble Prize, Dow files new patents, Greens high 5ing, problem solved!!!!

    Never mentioned in any of this, is that the GIANT Ozone death hole, well it just vanished in a few years, long before the new protocol had any effect.

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