Saturday, June 28, 2008

New information about climate change? Say it ain't so mean to tell me we may have to revise "our" models...again? That seems counter intuitive (he says sarcastically)...since the models we have are so accurate they can predict weather all the way out to the next...oh, say 48 hours if we are lucky.


An important mechanism for sucking ozone and methane out of the atmosphere has been discovered over the tropical Atlantic. The finding reveals how the two greenhouse gasses are kept in check by natural chemical reactions.

Researchers warn, however, that there is a risk the process could be overpowered by rising industrial pollution.

The data collected in Cape Verde, off the western coast of Africa, suggests that 50% more ozone is being destroyed above the tropical Atlantic Ocean than previously thought, because of halogens released by the seawater.

The process also increases the amount of methane pumped out of the lower atmosphere by up to 12% each day. It could occur in tropical oceans worldwide and could considerably improve the forecasts generated by the models used to study climate change.

"At the moment this is a good news story: more ozone and methane being destroyed than we previously thought," says Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science in Leeds, UK.

"But the tropical Atlantic cannot be taken for granted as a permanent sink for ozone. The composition of the atmosphere is in fine balance here," he adds.