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October, 2002

Double Ozone Holes Appear For First Time
By Jim Scanlon

During the last week of September the Antarctic Ozone Hole elongated, stretched out and spit into two. As the Coastal Post goes to press, the northernmost hole is rotating slowly to the east and will soon pass over a large portion of South America much higher, or further north, than it ever has. The other hole is due south of the Cape of Good Hope and moving over the Indian Ocean where it should pass over part of New Zealand.

Ultraviolet B radiation is influenced by many factors including cloud cover, time of year, time of day, latitude, air pollution and stratospheric ozone, but all things equal, the lower the ozone, the greater the amount of UVB on the surface. With springtime just beginning when the strength of the sun is weak and cloudy skies are common the higher levels of UVB should not pose an imminent environmental or human health danger, however double hole is just another example of how air pollution can produce the unexpected.

If the dual holes should persist, which seems unlikely, or should they reoccur later in the spring season when the sun's rays are much stronger they might pose a serious environmental health problem.

 

 

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