Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ozone Layer Fully Regenerated by 2050?

As I was searching for a secondary article on which to base my assignment, I happened to have stumble upon a short and simple article that stated that according to a UN report, the ozone layer could be regenerated by 2050. The title of this article is “Ozone layer is recovering, says UN” and supports the idea that the ozone layer is currently being regenerated. The article is roughly a page and a half long and references its primary source, the UN report, quite a lot. The original piece is titled “Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010” and is approximately 34 pages. Just the fact that this article could summarize in less than 2 pages what the UN report published in at least 34 was quite intriguing to me.

In the past two decades, the Protocol has been working to better the environment, although this being obvious, they have done this by working towards depleting harmful substances such as greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide. This information all came from the original report that covers several specific gases that this project has been working at depleting. The original report goes into very elaborate detail as to the progress the protocol has accomplished, and in my opinion, the secondary source, a two page article, does not do the work justice.

The idea that the secondary article is presenting is, since the beginning of 2010, the breakthrough by the Montreal Protocol was noticed, but when reading the full report, it is clear that this process has been in action for more than the past two decades. This secondary resource does not take into account all the research that is presented in the primary resource. By not presenting this information, the article does not cover questions that the public might encounter. The article states that the regeneration of the ozone layer is being caused by the depletion of almost 100 substances used in day-to-day products. Due to the fact that the amount of time that this movement has been at work was not properly represented, many people reading the article might be worried about the replacement substances that are now being used and how these new substances may cause new and more dangerous problems. The fact of the matter is that the original substances that had been destroying the ozone layer in the first place have been continuously depleting for decades now. Although this particular aspect of the original report was not taken into account, the article did however incorporate the fact that the published report has been reviewed by around 300 scientists. Although, what the scientists that reviewed this article had to say about it was not mentioned.

Personally, I feel as though the secondary source does not appreciate the work that has been put towards bettering the ozone layer, depleting HCFCs, CFCs, halons, etc., which are most of the harmful substances affecting the ozone layer. What the treaty has accomplished is much more than just a simple change from the results of the Kyoto Protocol, but there have also been observations made towards climate change. In the primary report, UV radiation, climate change, and ozone layer regeneration are all of the topics touched upon, although the secondary source mainly focuses on the regeneration of the ozone layer. This is specifically how the secondary source took what it needed of the primary source, weakly summarized some of the information given by the original piece, and briefly mentioned the other topics touched upon in the original work by making it sound less important. For example, in the original report, they present the fact that there has been no significant change in UV irradiance levels since the late 1990s and the observations have also been consistent in the ozone column since then. The secondary source does not mention any of this.

As for climate change, the secondary source very vaguely explained what the primary source foresees. The primary source clearly presents with much detail, that “The global middle and upper stratosphere are expected to cool in the coming century” (pg 28), due to the increase in CO2, whereas the secondary source says, “Changes in climate are expected to have an increasing influence on stratospheric ozone in the coming decades, it says”. The secondary source does not go into any further detail as to how or why there will be an influence on the stratospheric ozone, it merely states that there will be a change... sure, but what kind?

All in all, I truly do not believe that the secondary source included enough information as to how or why there are going to be any changes in the ozone layer, and what the consequences and/or repercussions will be. By boldly stating such a strong argument and not backing it up, there can be a lot of doubt and worry created amongst the public which can in turn cause controversy, cause the article and company to lose its validity, and possibly even create doubt in the primary source all together.

By Eliza Solis Maart 0712280



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