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Drifting hole in ozone layer set to expose Germans to skin damage

The Local · 7 Apr 2011, 15:03

Published: 07 Apr 2011 15:03 GMT+02:00

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The gap itself has already shifted to expose parts of Denmark, but according to experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven it is set to move further south in the coming weeks, extending as far as the Mediterranean Sea.

A depleted ozone layer allows more harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays than usual to reach the earth's surface, increasing the risk of sunburn and causing long-term damage that could lead to skin cancer.

With the expected intensity of the rays akin to that of high summer, those more sensitive to the sun could burn within minutes.

“The real problem is that most people don’t think they can get sunburnt so early in the year,” said Markus Rex of the Alfred Wegener Institute.

The destruction of the ozone layer has this year reached record levels, according to data released earlier this week by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Geneva.

The sudden surge has surprised experts, as tests had indicated that the hole would shrink by around 40 percent between the end of winter and the end of March due to an extremely cold winter in the stratosphere.

Story continues below…

According to data from the AWI, the past two weeks have seen the stronger UV rays hitting the earth between the North Pole and Scandinavia, and they are set to reach Russia in the coming days.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:28 April 7, 2011 by Landmine
"burn in minutes"? That is a little far fetched and exagerated.

I have lived in places where the hole exists and yes, you do burn a little more, but not in minutes as the article states....
18:52 April 7, 2011 by taiwanluthiers
I think at the angle in which the sunlight hits the earth at higher latitudes, a hole in the ozone layer is unlikely to be bad. I believe ozones are created by sunlight acting on oxygen gas, so its natural for polar regions to have "holes" because ozone simply doesn't form as readily as lower latitudes.
21:52 April 7, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
My understanding is that it is natural to have a thinner ozone layer at the poles, but the problem is that it is getting thinner and wider spread, hence the Montreal Protocol.

Here is a rather long URL to the DWD forecast:

00:00 April 8, 2011 by zeddriver
Rough translation. They will require you to pay more tax. So that the scientists can do more studies to scare you into paying even more tax for more studies.

End game. Just hand over your life to us. We will tell you what, When, Where you may do anything. Of course only after having paid mightily for the appropriate government permit.
00:13 April 8, 2011 by Altdude
According to your headline, I have nothing to worry about as I am an American and only Germans will be exposed to skin damage. This should be really good news for all the Turks, Romanians and Czechs living here now.
06:07 April 8, 2011 by auniquecorn
Great headline, I´m gonna brag to all the guys at work now.

and let my daughter know that its only half as bad for her.
13:59 April 11, 2011 by ron1amr
Yes with higher ultra violet rays you can get burnt within minutes. An indication is the paint or varnish on external buildings. When the paint or varnish begin to peel, then paint technology will need to change to allow for these situations. With weather you will need to have a uv index to warn against extreme days. Also wearing sunglasses on these days. Its not a good sign as it means the icecaps will melt at a faster rate than before which is consistent with the scientific findings of an acceleration of the melting icecaps.
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