A pet peeve

At some point during the warm summer months, I hear nearly every local weather reporter remark:

“It’s going to be hot outside. Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen so that you don’t get burned.”

Yet, that statement is 99% false. The only correlation between temperature and sunburn is that people wear less clothing when it is hot out. Ultraviolet radiation causes sunburn, not heat (infrared radiation). Notice how people get sunburned while snow skiing. The UV light reflecting off of the snow combined with people not putting on sunscreen causes people to get burned. And, they don’t put on sunscreen because local weathermen give the impression that it is heat, and not UV radiation, that cause sunburn.

By extension, the same error gets repeated during global warming discussions. THE OZONE LAYER/HOLE HAS LITTLE OR NOTHING TO DO WITH GLOBAL WARMING. For the sake of most arguments, those are completely separate scientific phenomena (there are some subtle hypothesized links, see wikipedia for basic info). Yet, I frequently read or hear that:

“Global Warming is false because the Ozone hole is shrinking!”

If anything, a shrinking ozone hole would be evidence that environmental regulation works, and that man can in fact cause and correct atmospheric pollution problems. Ozone depletion has to do with CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), which were phased out in most countries two decades ago, and not carbon dioxide. I’m all for a good scientific debate, but please folks, show a little understanding of the issue before you spread misinformation.

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One Response to A pet peeve

  1. That very much bothers me as well. My skin is extremely pale, so I’m someone who has to wear sunscreen year round or else it does get damaged. And don’t get me started on climate change and the misinformation that people use to defend or refute it. Both sides are guilty of misinforming the public about what’s really happening. To be honest, I’m of the mindset that we’re seeing both natural and anthropogenic climate change. We still have so much to learn about our earth’s climate, but that doesn’t mean we should cut back on restrictions on pollutants just because it might not be something that is manmade. All the more reason to keep the restrictions – prevent any damage for happening if we have not been the cause of it yet!

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