By Benjamin Gaul
Really. Go outside and soak up some Sun, my friends.
Imagine you’re strolling along a beach somewhere, minding your own business, when a hysterical bearded man wearing a ponytail and a lab-coat runs up to you in a panic. He wants to enlist your help in “Saving the Earth” from Surf Boarders. Because they are, in his learned and Lab-Coated opinion “wearing down the protective surf layer!”
He goes on to earnestly explain that the thin line of surf is the only thing holding back all the moistest parts the ocean. If the surfer-dudes wear it down too much, the “layer of surf” will become so depleted that it will no longer protect us from all that moistness and destroy mankind! What might your reaction BE to such a person? You would conclude, quite correctly, that he should be confined to the local loony bin as quickly as possible. As would any other sane person with a rudimentary grasp of the physics involved.
Like it or not, this is exactly the kind of logic being used to support the “hole in the ozone layer” scam.
Seemingly intelligent people are running around with varying versions of this Chicken Little theory, weeping that the Sky is Falling, without ever making even the slightest attempt to find out what is really happening, or why. It’s really only necessary to understand a few very simple scientific facts to totally debunk this myth.
First, we need to know what exactly “the ozone” is:
It starts with the element called oxygen, which bares the chemical symbol O. Oxygen rarely, if ever, exists as the single atom O. A single atom of oxygen is called an ion, and it’s very difficult for most elements to exist freely in their ionic state. What normally happens is that two atoms of O combine and form the molecule O2. This is the stuff you and I (and most other living creatures) breathe. We then expel it as carbon dioxide, or CO2 (one carbon atom, two oxygen atoms).
In yet another of nature’s wonderful balancing acts, green plants breathe in the CO2, extract the atom of carbon (C) as a building block in their cellular growth, and expel O2 for you and I to breathe back in. This is one of the reasons it’s so important we stop calling CO2 a “Dangerous Pollutant.” Plants THRIVE on CO2, and get greener when there’s more of it in the air.
If one applies various forms of energy to the O2 molecule, it will break down to its ionic state and reform into another configuration, one where THREE atoms of oxygen bond to form a new molecule called O3, or “ozone”. The energy required to perform this little trick can come from a variety of sources. An electrical discharge through the air will do it. Unlike O2, which is odorless, ozone has a very distinct smell.
Pick up your kid’s radio-controlled car after its been running a while. The electric discharge in the motor turns a certain amount of O2 into O3. Bolts of lightning ionize a great deal of the surrounding air, and create O3 by the bucket.
Far and away, the largest source of energy used to convert O2 into O3, comes from the Sun. The radiation from the sun has wavelengths visible to humans from violet (400 nanometers, nm) to red (700 nm), plus invisible infrared (> 700 nm) and ultraviolet (< 400 nm) wavelengths. The energy of the radiation increases as the wavelengths shorten, and the absorption of highly energetic ultraviolet (UV) radiation usually causes the decomposition of simple atmospheric molecules.
O2 is slightly lighter than the other elements that make up the air (nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and so on), so a certain proportion of the O2 molecules drift upwards to the outer fringes of the Atmosphere into the Troposphere, which is just inside the stratosphere.
A certain amount of that incoming light is absorbed or deflected by various elements: Atoms, molecules and particles of other matter. The bulk of this light from the Sun continues its downward journey toward us, until it encounters the O2 molecules rising up from the surface. All multi-atom compounds are capable of absorbing UV radiation if the wavelength is short enough, and almost all will decompose after absorbing that radiation.
At the point where the Sun’s radiation reaches a sufficient concentration of O2 molecules, a reaction takes place. The ultraviolet spectrum strikes the rising O2 molecules and imparts its energy to the element. This has two effects:
First, it greatly reduces the amount of ultraviolet light which would otherwise reach the Earth’s surface, because the ray of ultraviolet light loses energy and becomes light in the lower, visible spectrums. Second, it splits the O2 into ions, which quickly bond to other O2 molecules to become ozone molecules (O3).
OZONE IS THE RESULT OF UV ENERGY BEING ABSORBED BY O2.
Sure, these ozone molecules in turn can absorb ultraviolet radiation and split off an O atom. Such absorption is especially strong for wavelengths shorter than 290 nm. Again, these O atoms usually reform into O3 by reacting with O2. So it’s the O2 keeping us protected from the UV, and the O3 is merely the result of all that protection.
Class, turn to page three in your workbooks.
Just as the surf is not a magical barrier to the ocean flooding the land, but is in reality a visible, detectable EFFECT ~resulting where land and water meet~ so too is the so-called “ozone layer” merely an area where an effect can be detected. There will be an “ozonosphere” as long as there are O2 and sunlight.
If either one of these packs up, we will have long since suffocated, or frozen to death, before we develop skin cancer. This is stuff you can check out for yourself in the most remedial of Science books.
The balance of ozone is maintained in the atmosphere by which about 3 parts in 107 of the entire atmosphere are present as O3, versus almost 21% as O2. About 90% of these ozone molecules are present at altitudes between 10 and 50 kilometers (km), i.e. in the stratosphere, where the mixing ratio of O3 can rise as high as 1 part in 105.
Point being, there isn’t a whole lot of O3 anywhere, anyway. Which is just as good for us O2 breathers, because O3 doesn’t support life. When O3 reaches dangerously high levels near the planet’s surface, the big cities where it occurs announce “Ozone Danger Days”, and ask people to stay indoors and avoid jogging. Too much ozone will kill us. I’ll explain how Nature conspires to keep us alive, in a bit.
So, why do those bearded guys in ponytails and lab coats tell us the result is the cause?
It’s not as if they tell us “Thunder brings about Lightning.” You need to understand that they don’t get to earn their lab-coats unless they learn to spout the party line, verbatim. Because the party line keeps the lab-coat types DEEP in grant money.
Getting large groups of people to say one thing when they actually mean another is quite simple, really: Any soldier just out of Army Boot camp can communicate “well done” “great idea” “I concur” or any number of other affirmations just by saying “Hoo Ah!” If you spent hours, every day, with a large group of people who called a chair a “door”, you would soon call the chair a door to prove you were in on the joke. Eventually it would become habit to call chairs doors.
The Moonies used a similar technique in their recruitment and brainwashing efforts back in the Seventies. Attractive young adults would serve visitors heavily sugared Cool Aid, keeping them isolated and surrounded ~all very friendly, of course~ in groups of 5 to 10 Moonies to one visitor. Eventually, the visitor would have to speak the way the Moonies did, or they would be made feel dumb or unacceptable.
But… Isn’t the Ozone Layer getting thinner?
Okay, now that we all have a firmer grip on what ozone is, how it’s made, where you can watch the process happen, and how it has VERY DAMNED LITTLE to do with the actual blocking of UV, lets tackle the so-called “holes” issue.
I’ve sailed up the Inland Passage on my way to Juneau Alaska, while enlisted in the Coast Guard. On summer days in the early dawn, the water is so calm and flat that it doesn’t even ripple. The bow wave looks more like smooth molten glass than the normal splash & wavelets. The beaches enjoy a quiet, still hour or so, where no surf dare intrude. No waves, no surf.
There are two places on the face of the planet where, during the winters of their year, LITTLE TO NO ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT strikes the rising O2 molecules. There can be NO large formation of O3 molecules. I am referring, of course, to the Northern Polar Region, and the Southern Polar Region.
Hence, there is a measurable decrease in the amount of ozone in the Pole’s Troposphere at that time. As the Sun’s overhead position gradually changes, and the Sun moves back across the Equator, and the amount of sunlight reaching whichever Polar Region gradually increases. Thus giving rise to an increase in the incidence of ultraviolet light striking the atmosphere. Thus causing the “hole” to shrink. It is cyclical, natural, and an utter non-issue. If you ever watched the Nature film “March of the Penguins” you know full well that during the winter in the Antarctic, there is very little fear of the Penguins getting a sunburn.
Where did all this nonsense about “holes” in the ozone layer come from, anyway?
Back in 1985, the British Climatological Team in the Antarctica discovered the effacement (thinning) for the first time. There was a short bout of media hysteria, speculation about how half the world’s population would be dead from skin cancer by the year 2000, as I recall. I also remember that it had all just died away by late 1986-early 1987. We heard nothing more about “holes” in the ozone layer until Global Warming became the cause celeb.
It all died away because the British scientists at the South Pole studied the phenomenon long enough to realize that it was not some hideous, dire threat to mankind’s future, but part of a natural, endless, repetitive cycle. This was actually reported in the papers. Not in screaming page-one headlines, but buried down on page 23 or so, somewhere between the comics and the obituaries.
What was also reported at the time was that the scientists, who by then knew exactly what they were dealing with, were moving camp to the Northern Polar regions to test their own prediction. There would be a similar “hole” there, at the opposite time of the year. And that is exactly what they found.
Of course, such a reassurance did not suit those who wish us to live our lives in a constant state of near panic. It is critical that the tax paying public be ever more prepared to hand over control of our lives to some form of Big Brother, to save us from these imaginary threats.
Rather than the newspapers correctly reporting that the British team had discovered a second hole above the Arctic Circle, a cyclical thinning they had already predicted and gone to confirm, the papers screamed out from their front pages, “Second Hole in Ozone Layer Discovered: Dire Double Threat to Mankind,” and other, similarly hysterical drivel.
But… Aren’t CFCs destroying the ozone, and stuff?
Now we come to the MAN DID IT portion of this article. Remember kids, we can’t shake the taxpayers down for Billions of dollars ~Annually~ if they know they had nothing to do with a problem that doesn’t even exist!
Chlorinated Fluorescent Carbons. Lab-coats call it Chlorofluorocarbon for short, or “CFC” for the uninformed (rather like Kentucky Fried Chicken dumbing it down to “KFC” so we wouldn’t read FRIED all the time). Those pesky little CFCs do indeed rip O3 apart. And it’s a damned good thing they do, too.
Ever been to an ocean beach at night, watching the frothing whitecaps “glow” and sparkle in the dark? Those beautiful sparkles are Chlorinated Carbons in the sea water “fluorescing”. Just like fluorescent lights in your home. These naturally occurring CFCs are being generated alllll over the world, 24/7. They are part of the gorgeous balancing act that keeps the –continually generated during the actual absorption of UV– O3 from coming down and choking life from the surface of the Earth.
We can bust our humps for the rest of our combined lifetimes, and NEVER generate the kind of CFCs the oceans give off. But there’s good money in making taxpayers feel responsible, and the Power to make whole populations change their habits is heady stuff, indeed.
If CFCs caused holes, why are they ONLY over the Polar Regions, again?
Were the polar explorers and scientists using too much Right Guard or driving all over the ice with the AC blasting? If CFCs had much to do at all with the holes, then the holes would be over New York, or Tokyo, or London. Or at least somewhere relative to these places where it could be shown that the air currents were causing the CFCs to accumulate. But they are not.
The holes only occur in two places: Over the North and South Polar Regions. Exactly in accordance with natural forces, which have been going on far longer than we’ve been observing them. And, exactly in accordance with the theories and predictions of the scientists who discovered them in the first place.
Now imagine a Boeing DreamLiner, or any other Jumbo Jet with its massive engines, hurling through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour, scooping literally TONS of air into its jet engines every minute or so. Those big jet engines are sucking in the air they fly through and using the oxygen to burn kerosene. Did you know that all those jets fly predominantly in the ozonosphere?
That’s right: The “oxygen” these jets destroy by the ton, every minute, is not the O2 variety you and I breathe; it’s the O3 variety. Every time a jet takes off and flies somewhere, it destroys more ozone than you or I could ever imagine, let alone destroy by using CFCs personally, in a lifetime. We’re not talking about amounts that can even be conceived in terms of deodorant cans; we’re talking volumes of ozone similar to the amount of water in the San Francisco Bay.
And that’s just ONE Jumbo Jet. Thousands of such flights occur all over the world each and every day. We should be completely out of O3 by now!
It’s Summer 2012, and MY Pasty Irish Posterior STILL has to work at getting a tan. Once again, those Dire Prognosticators in their ponytails and lab-coats have couched their doomsday rhetoric in terms of “Boy, 15 years or so, Massive Death and Destruction!” I’ve seen 15 years happen 3 times now, and every prediction of Death & Destruction has failed to come about as scheduled.
You’d think they’d get tired of being so wrong so often. Then again, the money’s good!
So the next time some Chicken Little in a lab-coat and a ponytail -or some other useful idiot tells you “The Ozone Layer is Depleting!” You tell that pompous buffoon “Hoo Ah!”