According to a recent study, shift in wind patterns and clouds covering Antarctica is a result of hole in earth’s ozone layer and this has caused global temperature to lower down. Researchers are still working to find out the reason as to how can ozone hole alter wind patterns and push clouds towards South Pole. One probable cause of planet going warmer as figured out by the scientists is the change in amount of sun’s radiations being reflected back by the cloud cover.
This temperature change that has happened merely due to shifting jet streams and cloud cover has surprised everyone, says Kevin Grise, climate scientist at Columbia University. He explained when clouds move towards South Pole, lesser energy is reflected and consequently more radiation reach the earth’s surface.
Grise and his colleagues estimated the energy reaching ground is less than 0.09 watts per square foot which is much smaller than warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. This research will help climatologists to give précised predictions of future climatic conditions.
The ozone layer, present in stratosphere,prevents harmful ultraviolet rays coming from sun to reach ground thereby protecting earth and inhabitants. In 1980s, an ozone hole was found over Antarctica which was an outcome of excessive use of chlorofluorocarbons. In 1987, Montreal Protocol put the ban on use of CFCs all over the world. As per the observation made by MetOp weather satellite of European Space Agency, ozone hole is shrinking. Even in 2012, it was reported that the size of hole in the ozone layer was smaller than before.
Grise expects the shift of jet stream would be reduced if ozone layer recovers. However increasing greenhouse gas emissions will also affect wind patterns which will again drift the jet stream towards pole. It is difficult to predict cloud behaviour as the computer models used in this study could not understand clouds on the north of jet stream and being pulled towards the equator.