Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Climate change, the ozone hole, and skin cancer - they're all connected

By Noel Wauchope - posted Monday, 30 December 2013

As I watch the TV news on these hot summer days, I marvel, in a sort of shocked way, at the acres of bare human flesh exposed to the harsh sunlight.- Australians of all ages, frolicking at the beaches. Don't they know about skin cancer? Don't they care?

Like the mythical mass suicide of lemmings, do they frolic to their doom.?

In a slower sort of frolic, Australia under the Abbott government no longer seems to know or care, about climate change.


Science is finding new connections between global warming and the ozone hole, and skin cancer, especially in Australia.

Australia has just had its hottest year on record. Global warming is happening, whether or not one argues about the cause. The hole in the ozone layer is still there, even though talk of that has gone out of fashion. And there's skin cancer on the increase 2 common forms, and the less common melanoma, and another nasty rare one, that is becoming less rare in Australia.

What are the connections here?

Well, first of all,- ozone depletion and skin cancer It is the ozone layer in the stratosphere that protects life on earth from most of the ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation is the big cause of skin cancers. So, less ozone means more UV radiation reaching us, and hence, more skin cancers.

Ozone depletion and climate change. We've always been told that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica was caused by human emissions of ozone-depleting substances, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and that, through the Montreal Protocol of 1989, these emissions would be curtailed, and the hole would gradually decrease. As far as attributing a cause of depletion of ozone, - this is substantially true.

However, the "ozone hole" has not decreased much at all, despite the stopping of CFC emissions. Now scientists are finding that meteorological factors play a role. The expected recovery of the ozone layer is not yet happening. Temperature and winds drive annual changes in ozone hole size.


Temperature and winds not only affect fluctuations in the size of the ozone layer hole. They are themselves affected by global warming, and they then bring about changes in the ozone layer. Greenhouse gas emissions bring about a sort of heat trapping"blanket" in the atmosphere, as these emissions increase, more heat is trapped. That means that less heat escapes back into the stratosphere layer above the Earth's atmosphere. The result is a cooling effect on the stratosphere and an increase in the polar stratospheric cloud (PSC).

That in turn causes the loss of more ozone.

This article is not attempting to say that by addressing climate change,we are going to prevent skin cancer, although it is pretty clear that the faster Australia heats up, the greater will be the incidence of skin cancer. (So, on that basis alone, it would be a good idea to get on to a global drive to fight climate change.)

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

72 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Noel Wauchope taught science before switching to nursing. She has several post-graduate qualifications, in health informatics, medical terminology and clinical coding. She is a long time anti-nuclear activist.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Noel Wauchope

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 72 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy