Earth's ozone hole, shown here (in blue) in 2006, could be negatively affected by some efforts to decrease climate change.
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Courtesy of NASA

Adding Sulfate Particles to Stratosphere Could Have Huge Impact on Earth's Ozone Layer
News story originally written on April 24, 2008

Some scientists who study the Earth's climate have been looking for ways to cool the planet because they are worried that humans aren't doing enough to prevent major changes in our climate. One idea they have is to inject particles that block the Sun into a layer of the atmosphere called the stratosphere. These particles, called sulfates, would block the Sun and cool the climate in the same way that sulfur particles from volcanoes cool the Earth after a volcanic eruption.

Unfortunately, this solution might create other big problems for our planet. A new study, headed by a scientist named Simone Tilmes, says that putting sulfates into the stratosphere would have a huge impact on the Earth's protective ozone layer. It would also make the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole take much longer and would cause a lot of ozone loss over the Arctic region. The ozone layer is very important for life on Earth because it blocks dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

The scientists concluded that there needs to be more research done in this area before we decide that injecting sulfates into the stratosphere is a good thing for our planet.

Last modified May 29, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

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