Monster threatens NYC…and ozone layer

Speaking of attacks on Gotham…tonight's thunderstorm. 

Monster storm rips through #NYC tonight. on Twitpic

From NYC photographer Inga Sarda-Sorenson. Meanwhile, a new study from James Anderson and associates at Harvard unexpectedly finds that this sort of huge thunderstorm could damage the ozone layer, allowing more ultraviolet light to reach the earth. From the Christian Science Monitor:

The study by Dr. Anderson's team is based on well-established atmospheric chemistry and observations over the continental United States of an underappreciated character in the ozone story: summer thunderstorms.

In essence, the team found that thunderstorms and their powerful, convective updrafts drive unexpectedly large concentrations of water vapor high into the stratosphere. The high concentrations of water vapor alter conditions in ways that encourage ozone destruction when the man-made chemicals associated with ozone depletion are present.

If the frequency and intensity of mid-latitude storms increase with time, as some global-warming models suggest, Anderson and his colleagues say they are concerned that ozone destruction at mid-latitudes could become one of those irreversible feedbacks.

Results surprised researchers. Excellent story from veteran Pete Spotts

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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