Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘ozone layer

Even before Covid-19, 80 years ago, : It was a good time to die

Note: Re-edit of “A good time to die (October 16, 2008)”

We know by now that decisions for resuming experiments on atomic explosions, in open air or underground, are bad news.

We know that decisions to leave man out of the loop of programmed launching of guided ballistic missiles are wrong decisions.

We are learning that the ozone layer is good and protects the living organisms from lethal doses of ultraviolet radiations; that the depletion of ozone over the Antarctic is very bad news.

We recognize that the increased concentration of CO2 may be causing the “Greenhouse Effect”, melting the North Pole and increasing the Oceans water level.

We have this gut feeling that the deforestation of the virgin forests in the Equator is degrading the quality of air and increasing the numbers of tsunamis or cyclones or tidal waves or hurricanes.

We blame those who still insist on residing around the targeted sea shores (increase water level) as if these cataclysms would disappear any time soon.

We are less sure how the high electrical tension pylons amidst towns alter the health of children, but active citizens must have learned the lesson to No longer wait for the results of research and experiments when health and safety are of concern.

We know that our intelligence is intrinsically malignant but the most malignant are those vicious, lengthy and recurring cycles of the decision processes to settle on remedial plans of actions.

We frequently don’t know the mechanisms to resolve what we initiated and much less these processes that takes decades to recognize the problems and reach agreements to act and persevere in our programs.

Earth has mechanisms to stabilize harms done to it, but it requires man to leave it alone for hundreds and thousands of years.

Every time man creates a problem to earth’s quality and stability we have to wait for a valiant scientist to sound the alarm.

Then we have to wait for this scientist to affiliate with a recognized international figure to give credit and weight for his discovery.

Then we have to wait for the convinced scientists (paradigm shift) and professionals to sign up a manifest and present it to the UN so that the UN might receives a wake up call to take on its responsibilities to preserving human rights for clean air, clean potable water, clean environment and human rights for health and safety and security. 

Then we have to wait for one superpower to admit that what is happening is bad, that the level of tolerance, invariably set by unprofessional specialists in the field, is no longer acceptable.

Then we have to wait for one superpower to unilaterally agree to distance itself from the pack of wolves and actively remediate.

Then we have to hear the complaints of economic infeasibility of regulations to remedial actions and then we have to set a period that lengthens to decades in order to start an effective program that agrees to everyone concerned.

Albert Schweitzer in his book of selected 3 calls to action “Peace or atomic war” describes the fundamental process that was initiated to put a halt on atomic explosion live experimentations.

You discover that physicists and not medical specialists volunteer to set levels of tolerances to radioactive emissions.

You hear Edward Teller, the “eminent” physicist and “father” of the hydrogen bomb say “We have got for our national security to keep testing for a harmless hydrogen bomb”; as if States at war intend not to inflict harms!

The UN had to wait for 9235 scientists and headed by Linus Pauling to sign a manifest in January 1958 explaining the lethal harm to the next generations of radioactive emissions.

Then the US Administration gradually stopped financing apologetics in Newspapers that the experiments constitute No tangible harms.

After the US, Britain and the Soviet Union were forced to agree on a moratorium to open air explosions they resumed their nuclear explosions in “controlled, secure, and safe” underground testing fields.

I never stumbled on a manuscript describing the consequences for underground nuclear testing.

Usually the consequences are of long term nature and time-line researches are too expensive to follow up.

My gut feeling is that these underground testing are directly linked to the current drastic increase in large scale seism, volcano eruptions and tidal wave catastrophes.  

Earth may sustain one major destructive factor, but it requires more than one main factor to destabilize earth and its environment.

Note: If “La joie de vivre” est liée a un sentiment d’avoir réussi. Si on pouvait abaisser la barre de ce qu’on considère “Avoir Réussi”. I think Covid-19 gave humanity a chance to lower the level of “hussel and bussel” of what they consider “Having been successful” in order to discover happiness in life.

“A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson


Thomas Midgley Junior was an engineer by training and he developed an interest in the industrial applications of chemistry.  With an instinct for the regrettable that was almost uncanny, Midgley invented chlorofluorocarbons CFC that is eating up our ozone layer in the stratosphere.

Midgley also applied tetraethyl lead that spread devastation to human health by killing millions from lead contamination and increasing the lead content in our bones and blood 650 times the normal dose.

Tetraethyl lead was used to significantly reduce the “juddering” condition known as engine knock.  GM, Du Pont and Standard Oil of New Jersey formed a joint enterprise called Ethyl Gasoline Corporation with a view to making as much tetraethyl lead as the world was willing to buy this new gasoline and introduced this product in 1923.

Lead can be found in all manner of consumer products; food came in cans sealed with lead solder, water was stored in lead-lined tanks, and lead arsenate was sprayed onto fruit as a pesticide and even as part of the composition of toothpaste tubes.

However, lead lasting danger came as an additive to motor fuel.

Clair Patterson turned his attention to the question of all the lead in the atmosphere and that about 90% of it appeared to come from car exhaust pipes.  He set about to comparing lead levels in the atmosphere now with the levels that existed before 1923.

His ingenious idea was to evaluate these levels from samples in the ice cores in places like Greenland. This notion became the foundation of ice cores studies, on which much modern climatological work is based.

Patterson found no lead in the atmosphere before 1923.  Ethyl Corporation counter-attacked by cutting off all research grants that Patterson received.  Although Patterson was the unquestionable America’s leading expert on atmospheric lead, the National Research Council panel excluded him in 1971.

Eventually, his efforts led to the introduction of the Clean Air Act of 1970 and to the removal from sale of all leaded petrol in the USA in 1986.  Lead levels in the blood of the Americans fell by 80% almost within a year; but since the atmosphere contains so much lead and cannot be eliminated and is for ever, we are to live with a new constitution of heavy lead concentration in our blood stream and our bones.

Lead in paint was also banned in 1993, 44 years after Europe has banned it.  Leaded gasoline is still being sold overseas.  Ironically, all the research on lead effects on health were funded by the Ethyl Corporation; one doctor spent 5 years taking samples of urine and faces instead of blood and bones where lead accumulate.

Refrigerators in the 1920s used dangerous gases and leaks killed more than a hundred in 1929 in a Cleveland hospital.  Thomas Midgley came to the rescue with a safe, stable, non-corrosive, and non-flammable gas called CFC.

A single kilo of chlorofluorocarbon can capture and annihilate 70,000 kilo of atmospheric ozone, which is no thicker than 2 millimeter around the stratosphere and whose benefit is to capture the dangerous cosmic rays.

CFC is also a great heat sponge 10,000 times more efficient than carbon dioxide responsible for the greenhouse effect of increasing atmospheric temperature.

CFC was banned in 1974 in the USA but 27 million kilo a year are still being introduced in the market in other forms of deodorant or hairspray for example.  CFC will not be banned in the third world countries until 2010.

The natural level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should be 280 parts per million but it has increased to 360 and is roughly rising 0.025% a year and might be around 560 by the end of the century.

The seas soak up tremendous volumes of carbon and safely locked it away.  Since the Sun is burning 25% more brightly than when the solar system was young, what keeps our Earth stable and cool?

It seems that there are trillions upon trillions of tiny marine organisms that capture carbon from the rain falls and use it to make tiny shells. These marine organisms lock the carbon and prevent it from re-evaporating into the atmosphere; otherwise, the greenhouse effect of warming the atmosphere would have done much damage long time ago. These tiny organisms fall to the bottom of the sea after they die, where they are compressed into limestone.

Volcanoes and the decay of plants return the carbon to the atmosphere at a rate of 200 billion tones a year and fall to the Earth in rain.  The cycle takes 500,000 years for a typical carbon atom.  Fortunately that most of the rain fall in oceans because 60% of the rain that fall on land is evaporated within a couple of days.

Human has disturbed this cycle after the heavy industrialization era and is lofting about 7 billion tones each year.

There is a critical threshold where the natural biosphere stops buffering us from the effects of our emissions and actually starts to amplify them.




June 2020

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