London: The Antarctic ozone hole, which
was once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats,
is now steadily closing, but its repair could actually
increase temperatures in the southern hemisphere, British
scientists have claimed.
The researchers from the University of Leeds, who used a
state-of-the-art global model of aerosols for the study, said
high-speed winds in the area beneath the hole have led to the
formation of brighter summertime clouds, which reflect more of
the sun`s powerful rays.
"These clouds have acted like a mirror to the sun`s rays,
reflecting the sun`s heat away from the surface to the extent
that warming from rising carbon emissions has effectively been
cancelled out in this region during the summertime," said
co-author Prof Ken Carslaw.
"If, as seems likely, these winds die down, rising CO2
emissions could then cause the warming of the southern
hemisphere to accelerate, which would have an impact on future
climate predictions," he added.
A newly-discovered feedback showed that the hole has
helped to shield this region from carbon-induced warming over
the past two decades, the Science Daily reported.
The key to this feedback is aerosol -- tiny reflective
particles suspended within the air that are known by experts
to have a huge impact on climate.