What tore the ozone apart in the Earth’s stratosphere? Human-made chemicals? True. But, not to the extend what a massive solar flare did in 1859! It all happened in the last 500 years by the largest solar flare that may have shredded the Earth’s ozone layer to such a greater extent.
But, the new research that reveals this phenomenon suggests that the effect was only temporary. And if such a flare occurred today, it will likely damage the ozone even more! To add to, it can also increase the rate of skin cancer across the world.
Calculating the ozone depletion from the 1859 solar flare for the first time, the scientists explained that –
When the magnetic storm struck Earth, fires started in telegraph stations due to electrical arcing in the telegraph wires. The northern lights, or aurorae borealis, were reportedly seen as far south as Florida in the US.
This flare released 6.5 times more energy than the largest solar flare of the satellite era, which occurred in 1989. That flare was strong enough to cause a power blackout in Quebec, Canada.
For revealing these facts, the scientists have studied chemical deposits in Greenland ice cores.
Image: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory