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Climate Culprits Switch Dominance December 16, 2011
Ozone hole image
The ozone hole has closed up considerably since reaching its fifth-largest expanse on September 14.
International cooperation to phase out the use of ozone-depleting chemicals appears to be working in the battle to heal the annual ozone hole over Antarctica.

And while the coordinated efforts of the world’s governments are resulting in the hole slowly beginning to dissipate, no such agreements are on hand to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The ozone hole has altered temperature and rainfall patterns across parts of New Zealand and Australia since beginning to form in the 1970s.

But the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse pollution have already begun to overpower the healing process of the ozone hole, according to a new study.

The Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence for Climate says that greenhouse gasses are now altering the climate with far greater force, and will for a much longer time than the ozone hole.

“Unfortunately, carbon dioxide resides in the atmosphere for many hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, unlike CFCs that decline over just decades,” said the center’s leading climate expert Matthew England.

Photo: Ozone Hole Watch