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Friday, October 29, 2010

Asteroid would impact ozone layer

A large asteroid smashing into the Pacific ocean would devastate the ozone layer for years afterwards, report planetary scientists.

The simulations find by experts:

  • Ocean impacts of 0.6-mile-wide asteroids "can produce a significant, global perturbation of upper atmospheric chemistry."

  • "Ozone depletion comparable to Antarctic ozone hole records observed in the mid-1980 s and 1990 s, occur worldwide" after such an impact, lasting several years. 

  • Ozone depletion would cause ultraviolet light levels that can be dangerous for living organisms. "In the Tropics, and in mid-latitude summers immediately after the impact, (ultraviolet levels would ) greatly exceed the highest levels currently experienced anywhere on Earth."

  •   An ocean impact of a 0.62-mile wide asteroid "would have a long-lasting negative impact on global food production, which, in turn, may affect the sustainability of the current human population."

  • Effects of a smaller 0.3-mile-wide asteroid would have less far-reaching effects, limited to the hemisphere of the impact and with less duration.

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