Arctic Ozone Hole & Polar Melt Triggered By The Fukushima Catastrophe
By Yoichi Shimatsu
An ozone hole opened over the Arctic Circle in March 2011, and by the next year the polar ice sheet began to melt and break apart. Expanding faster than any projections for global-warming trends, these unanticipated shocks left climatologists in benumbed silence. Only a few experts have emerged from their cubby holes with timid explanations that are inadequate to the vast scale of these geophysical events.
The post-311 polar crisis consists of two separate, and possibly interrelated, events: the thinning and loss of the ozone layer over the Arctic Circle in 2011; and the sudden melt and break-up of the ice sheet in 2012.
To get a handle on the highly technical research findings, one can start by considering which of two possible models gave rise to the Arctic mega-crisis:
– Gradualism: a steady increase that eventually reaches a tipping point, for instance, how water inside a pot on a stove when it reaches the boiling point will transform into steam. Global warming theory is based on this model of incremental inputs of energy over time leading up to a dramatic change in the global environment, specifically from solar heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Global warming theory predicts higher average temperatures melting the polar caps and thus rising sea levels that submerge coastal regions.
A graphic from the journal Nature shows the rapid expansion
of the newly formed Arctic ozone hole in March 2011
– Catastrophe: the other type of causation is a sudden release of pent-up energy, much like what happens when a large bomb is ignited. The explosions and fires at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant, which ejected high-energy radioactive isotopes into the jet stream, was just such a forceful catastrophic event that generated a series of unforeseen effects.
The basic problem with the gradualism approach is that global-warming has yet to reach a sustained temperate climate in the Arctic region. A slow rise in physical heat by a few degrees over decades, which has recently thawed permafrost in parts of the sub-Arctic band across Siberia and Canada, has yet to arrive at annual temperatures that can melt the sub-zero Celsius range of the ice sheet over the interior of Greenland and the polar cap, especially within a short time-frame. Therefore an alternative mechanism is at work here.
The coincidence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster with the start of ozone loss in March 2011 is remarkable and, in anything, obvious. Although the scale of the radioactive releases were denied by the Japanese government at the time, subsequent retractions and corrections indicate quadrillions of becquerels were discharged into the jet stream moving in the direction of the Arctic region. By now, most nuclear experts concede that Fukushima was and continues to be a far greater catastrophe for the global environment that Chernobyl.
The question then becomes: Could radionucleoties released from Fukushma provide heat energy and/or nuclear-chemical reactions sufficient to massively affect the frosty sky and seas of the polar region?
To address this question, let’s begin with the potential for radioactivity to open an ozone hole:
– Even before the ban on production and use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) aerosols under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the concentration of these substances was insufficient to destroy the Arctic ozone layer. It is therefore improbable that CFCs could destroy the Arctic ozone in 2011 after decades of environmental regulation.
– On the other hand, decay products of uranium and plutonium, including radioactive isotopes of iodine and xenon, have an enormous capability of destroying ozone. Vast quantities of these ozone-destroyers reached the Arctic region within four days of the 311 meltdowns and for months thereafter, possibly to the present day.
As for the ice melt over Greenland and the Arctic:
– The ice sheets have been thinning over the past decade due to several proposed factors: warming global temperatures, heat-trapping black soot on the ice surface, and a cyclical pattern in the Arctic climate. None of these factors, however, can account for the sudden melt of 2012, the second year of the Fukushima crisis.
– A relatively small amount of radioactive isotopes can have the effect of raising water temperatures, which was confirmed by current Italian studies of the Fukushima meltdown, as reported by NHK World on April 30. An efficient fuel-to-heat ratio is the basis for the use of boiling-water and pressurized-steam nuclear reactors. A tiny quantity of nuclear fuel can generate vast amounts of heat.
– Tritium, radioactive heavy water, is produced inside nuclear reactors in especially high concentration with the use of plutonium-rich mixed-oxide fuel (MOX). Tritium, which has two neutrons in addition to a proton, has similar physical properties as normal H20, including evaporation to form clouds and precipitation in rain. The one major difference is their freezing-melting points. Normal water turns to ice at 0 Celsius. The freezing-melting point of tritium is -252 C. The presence of minute quantities of tritium can therefore destabilize the crystalline structure of ice and prevent normal water from freezing even in the coldest winter temperatures on Earth. (One observation along the Fukushima coast by this writer was that tritium tends to vaporize in a dense fog, providing a clue to spotting tritium in a body of water or slab of ice.)
The glacier-fed fiord in western-central Greenland shows a lack of floating ice and no partially frozen water in the late winter month of March 2014. The clinging fog resembles the tritium-caused dense mist along the Fukushima coast
A large, although unreported, amount of tritium escaped during the explosion of Reactor 3 and the fire at the spent-fuel pool of Reactor 4, which contained new MOX fuel rods. Most of this tritium was generated through neutron bombardment by overheated plutonium after the water-cooling system failure. A subsequent neutron-exchange between tritium and plutonium is the probable cause for a fusion explosion that ripped Reactor 3. Over the past year, ever-greater volumes of tritium in wastewater and runoff from Fukushima have been reported by TEPCO, indicating long-term adverse consequences for the Arctic region.
While numerical estimates of isotope releases are uncertain due to the ongoing official cover-up by the governments of Japan and the U.S. along with the IAEA, the nuclear chemistry of radionucleotides is indisputable. The Fukushima catastrophe in all likelihood released and continues to disperse sufficient amounts of heat-generating and chemically reactive nuclear isotopes to account for the Arctic environmental crisis.
What does the crisis in the thinly populated Arctic mean in terms of public health on a global level? The protective layer of ozone in the atmosphere protects humans and other life forms from constant daytime exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which is a major cause of cancer to the skin and other organs. For species unused to strong sunlight, related health disorders appeared just one year after the Fukushima disaster. Reports from biologists and anecdotal evidence are indicating a serious decline in the salmon run and skin lesions in seals and polar bears.
These biological effects, similar to medical findings on radiation victims in nuclear accidents and at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, indicate a serious threat. Further large-scale radioactivity releases from Fukushima could expand the area of the Arctic ozone hole to threaten population centers in Canada, the United States and Europe. To borrow a succinct phrase from a science blog: “The ozone layer is the barrier between life and death.”
The Inconvenient Balloons
In March and April 2011, Japanese and Danish environmental researchers sent balloons into the northern polar skies to measure ozone in the upper atmosphere. To their astonishment, the data indicated that sudden ozone depletion was under way over the Arctic. While its geographic dimensions are smaller than the persistent Antarctic ozone hole, the volume of ozone thinning was equal to the total loss over the South Pole, according to some of the field researchers.
The loss of the ice sheet over central Greenland is visible on this sheer rock plateau
The rapidity of the Arctic ozone loss should have rung alarm bells over the effects of the major environmental game-changer at that exact same time, which is of course the 311 disaster at Fukushima and its subsequent nuclear fallout. Instead, this stunning discovery by the 9-nation research group was swept under the carpet by the project funder NASA and its associated research centers, which have marginalized and overruled several of the original field researchers.
The “editing” and cover-up of Fukushima’s role in the Arctic ozone hole formation is part of the long-running campaign to promote global-warming theory to the exclusion of all other environmental threats. Global warming was adopted as the official cover story in 1996 by then CIA director John Deutch, in the Clinton-Gore administration, under his MEDEA program (Measurements for Earth Data for Environmental Analysis). A key intelligence objective at the time was to recruit Russian environmental specialists on the Arctic, a key natural-resource asset and potential battlefield for the 21st century.
By no coincidence Al Gore, who as vice president chaired the National Security Council (NSC), was the star attraction at the following year’s summit in Japan for the signing of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The White House intention became immediately clear on the first day in Kyoto with the dropping of the Biodiversity clause, which left global warming as the sole item on the plate. Despite their best effort at arm-twisting, the U.S. delegation famously failed to convince a skeptical developing world, including China, to adopt emissions controls that would halt any further industrial progress toward economic equity with the advanced economies.
The Arctic ice cap is broken to bits north of Greenland in an area where it should be at its thickest
Nuclear power remains the favored energy source because of the engineering, technology and uranium ore are effectively under the control of the 5-member UN Security Council, while most of the world’s oil, gas and coal are being held in reserve for future consumption by the club of wealthy nations. Thus, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was the top funder of the Kyoto Protocol events, along with Toyota’s auto export arm. TEPCO and its contractors GE, Hitachi and Toshiba branded nuclear as emission-free “green energy”, and from this deceitful legacy flows the official denial of Fukushima’s role in the destruction of the Arctic environment in favor of global warming theory.
A Science Green Wash
Many and perhaps most environmental researchers in the US and Europe are by now so indoctrinated in the global warming theory, and promoted or culled on their stance on that issue, that it should come as no surprise that the inconvenient balloons over the Arctic Circle were popped midair.
The pinpricks were delivered by Susan Strahan, an atmosphere scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. By no strange coincidence, that obscure suburb is also the Lower 48 headquarters of the Inuit tribes’ Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which holds title to vast oil and gas reserves in northern Alaska. Promote nuclear, store oil is the mantra of federal energy policy.
Strahan underestimates the size of the Arctic ozone thinning zone, contrary to the findings of many of her field researchers. This minor and temporary thinning is attributed by NASA-Goddard to chlorine from CFCs during an unusually cold winter of 2011, a combination that promoting ozone-depleting chemical reactions in the stagnant air mass over the Arctic.
The official narrative, however, fails to account for the decline of CFC use since the 1987 Montreal Protocol phase-out from propellants and refrigerants. By now, most industrial nations, including China, use alternative gases. The decline in use of CFCs has been so steep that a research team led by Francisco Estrada argues in the journal Nature Geoscience (February 2013) that the start of the slowdown in global warming coincides with the Montreal Protocol.
In contrast with the CFC theory from NASA-Goddard, atmosphere researcher Jeff Toon with the University of Colorado at Boulder puts the blame on nitric acid in stratospheric clouds as the chief ozone destroyer. Nitric acid, however, should also be in decline since the coal-fired economy of China began to install acid-removing filters and other leakage-prevention systems over the past decade, with grants and technology from the Germany and the U.S.
Iodine depletes ozone
The increase of ozone-depleting substances were likelier emitted from Fukushima. Iodine-131 and its decay product xenon are highly effective toward that end. The argument for ozone as prime candidate was bolstered by an otherwise unrelated 2013 study by chemists at Leeds and York universities in the UK. The joint team found that iodine, along with bromine, in seawater accounts for up to 50 more of ozone loss than previously believed. Professor Lucy Carpenter at York asserts that most of that iodine in the sea originates from nuclear-processing plants.
Closer to the North Pole, rows of low-hanging clouds are gripped by mist over an ice-free sea, appearing as if the ice had been chemically transformed into cold steam
The revived understanding of iodine in ozone destruction raises the specter of Project Argus, which detonated nuclear-tipped missiles in the upper atmosphere over the South Atlantic between the Cape of Good Hope and the Antarctic Continent. The 1958 nuclear blasts, designed by Livermore Lab and conducted by the secret US Navy Task Force 88, were aimed at creating radiation belts that could act as an electromagnetic shield against ballistic missiles. A parallel project of high-altitude blasts over the South Pacific, codenamed Project Hardtack, managed to explode far more tonnage at high altitude.
The combined releases of iodine-131 in Projects Argus and Hardtack could be the actual cause of the Antarctic ozone hole, which has been covered up over the past half-century. This insight into iodine-131’s role in ozone depletion provides further evidence that global warming theory is a propaganda diversion aimed at protecting the nuclear industry and atomic weapons from public scrutiny and scientific review.
New research strategy needed
Before signing off, one other science conjecture is asking to be demolished, and that’s the belief that an Indian summer in the American Midwest melted away the ice sheet over Greenland. The lead author, William Neff, a fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, suggests that an atmospheric “river” that flowed over Greenland in 2012 caused significant melting of its ice sheet.
The problem in all studies of Greenland’s climate is the lack of year-round monitoring stations on the ice sheet in the island’s interior, which is separated by a ring of mountains from the surrounding coastal areas. Along its coastline, temperatures are moderated in the May-September summer period, reaching to a median 10C at midday (up to 26C in southern fjords) as opposed to -40C over a long winter.
The glacier-packed interior, however, remains much colder. Temperature readings are taken with passive microwave readings picked up by satellites and calculated with algorithms. There are two inherent problems with the situation: first, any surface melt slips through crevasses to below the glaciers; and second, loss of the ozone layer greatly changes the solar radiation (and reflection off the ice surface), which would throw off thermal measurements. In summer, the midnight sun accounts for most of the warming of the ice sheet, while little is known about the affect of cosmic radiation, as seen in the aurora borealis, on ice temperatures. Thus, the challenge of understanding changes in the ice sheet could be flawed due to the influence on measuring systems by the types of radiation penetration through the ozone hole.
Greenland’s cold temperatures are maintained by the barotropic (high pressure, high density) force of the air and sea currents flowing from the Arctic through the Labrador Sea between Canada and Greenland. The pressures block warmer winds and waves from the U.S. East Coast. (The warm Gulf Stream turns eastward at Grand Banks, much further to the south.) The impact of an “air river” from the Midwest, that could penetrate the barotropic barrier, would therefore have a limited impact in warming effect and seasonal duration, and these estimates should be met with skepticism.
Tritium as ghostly threat
The alternative model suggested here is that a combination of radionucleotides and more tritium in the Fukushima fallout is the likelier cause of the rapid breakdown of the ice sheet over the Arctic and Greenland. Tritium, with a melting point four times lower than the coldest winter temperatures, is the most probable cause of fractured ice and melting.
Photos taken on a flyover in mid-March 2014 show a sheer white mist clinging to the ice inside the Greenland interior similar to the “moya” (Japanese for miasma) along the capes of the Fukushima coast. Further northward, beyond the broken-apart offshore ice field, orderly ranks of low-hanging puffy clouds have replaced the ice sheet, and these formations may be indicative of the crystal-dissolution effect of tritium and radioactive isotopes. In the cold still polar climes, radioactive energy could well have a “re-ordering” effect, transforming solid substance into orderly ranks of cloud mass.
Of course, these are simple observations tempered with logical deduction. For unbiased scientific studies to be organized, new measuring tools and research strategies need to be devised, put to the test in the field and rigorously analyzed before strong conclusions can be established.
Instead of ignoring or denying the possible effects of Fukushima radiation, along with preceding radioactive releases from the world’s nuclear industry and atomic weapons testing, climatologists should be taking radioactivity as a serious threat to world weather systems and the Arctic/alpine environment. The argument presented here shows a more plausible catastrophe model for the sudden opening of the Arctic hole and ice sheet shrinkage than the overstretched scenarios based on gradual global warming.
This essay is not an academic exercise. It is a challenge to science bureaucrats and willing practitioners who’d rather fix the data to match a self-serving agenda than do what its takes to launch action to save the lives of innocent people and entire species of living creatures. Science, if it is to benefit humanity and protect the life-support systems on this planet, must be independent of group-think and always be in search for the truth. Perhaps by now, more than three years on, it is already too late; we can only hope that it’s not.
Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor with the Japan Times group, is a Hong Kong-based science writer.
“Unprecedented Arctic ozone loss in 2011”, report by 19 participating researchers, the journal Nature, October 2011http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v478/n7370/abs/nature10556.html
“How Fukushima Impacted the Massive Arctic Ozone Loss”. Y. Shimatsu, http://rense.com/general94/howfu.htm
“NASA pinpoints causes of the 2011 Arctic ozone hole” Maria-Jose Vinas, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 11 March 2013
“An Arctic ozone hole? Not quite” Audrey Resutek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT News, 15 April 2014http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/arctic-ozone-hole-not-quite-0414
“Ozone Depletion Over Ocean Caused By Sea Surface Iodine” Lawrence LeBlond, redOrbit.com, 14 January 2012
“Statistically derived contributions of diverse human influences to twentieth-century temperature changes” (linkage of slowdown of global warming to the 1987 Montreal Protocol” Francisco Estrada, Pierre Perron, Benjamin Martinez-Lopez, Nature Geoscience, June 2013
“Continental heat anomalies and the extreme melting of the Greenland ice surface in 2012 and 1889,” William Neff, Gilbert Compo, F. Martin Ralph, Matthew D. Shupe, Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres.