How quickly we can become accustomed to truly bad news, especially if the consequences are not immediately apparent-- although the nearly 1,000,000 U.S. residents who discovered they had skin cancer in 1985 would certainly disagree with me. 1985 was also the year that President Ronald Reagan declared the first National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Week, although he'd spent the first three years of his administration fighting regulation of chlorofluorocarbons, the chief but not sole cause of ozone thinning and, at the time, ubiquitous in aerosol sprays and air conditioning units.
That repair is slowly happening, although at the current rate, we won't reach pre-1980 levels until at least 2060. But it turns out this good news has its dark side: in the Antarctic, high winds caused by the hole created moist, bright, fluffy clouds which also shielded the Antarctic from some of the effects of global warming, according to researchers published in today's Geophysical Research Letters, The New York Times covered this report on January 25, as well as that of a dissenting voice, who feels that the effects of global warming itself will keep the high winds blowing, protecting the Antarctic. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Gee, can't we have it all? A repaired ozone hole and a reduction of global warming?
Graphics from The Ozone Hole