Springtime sun - danger by ozone hole

When the first rays of sunshine come after a long winter, all of Germany is happy about the spring, which moves in with sun and mild temperatures. But the sunshine is not always unclouded. In the spring u. U. form an ozone hole over Germany by the so-called polar vortex. The polar vortex is a low pressure area that rotates in winter in the stratosphere above the North Pole. If this vortex shifts unusually far south, then the ozone hole can also increase. Because the polar vortex leads to the formation of ozone-depleting gases, the so-called chlorine oxides, the ozone hole enlarges over Europe. Chlorine oxide concentrations were twice as high as average winters when measured by a Russian research aircraft.

Persistent contaminated sites

The ozone-depleting chlorine is still partly due to propellants in spray cans, although these have been banned for several years. But because the chlorine compounds only slowly rise into the stratosphere and the chlorine oxides form again and again after ozone destruction, their total concentration decreases only slowly. The polar vortex gets very cold. On ice crystals of polar stratospheric clouds, chlorine oxide forms within the polar vortex. In sunlight, the chlorine oxide reacts very aggressively with the ozone in the stratosphere. Thus, ozone is broken down and thus the ozone layer loses its filter effect for the UV rays of the sun.

Not without my sunscreen!

For the sunny days that means: sun protection is announced! Although the sun is still relatively low on the horizon in spring, it has to penetrate a very large layer of the atmosphere. Therefore, the risk of sunburns in the lowlands is lower. However, sensitive people should also provide sufficient protection from the sun here. On the other hand, the situation becomes more problematic in the mountains. Tobogganers, skiers and snowboarders are particularly exposed to the sun under these conditions. In the mountains, the greater proximity to the sun ensures significantly greater UV radiation; the reflection of the sun through the white snow does the rest.

Frostbite in the sunshine?

In bright sunshine, you can often be tempted to neglect the sunscreen. In fact, however, you have to pay attention to the exposure times of sunscreen as on the piste in summer. Whether sunscreen or milk: at least 30 minutes, the agent should be able to act on the skin before going into the sun.

If you sweat a lot while winter sports, you should apply a water-repellent sunscreen that can not be wiped off by snow and sweat. In addition, highly water-based sunscreen can cause frostbite directly on the skin, because when skiing through the wind often temperatures below 0 C on the skin. In this temperature range, only a special cold-protection balm, which is anhydrous and particularly rich in fat, can prevent the threat of frostbite.

Incidentally, sunscreen is not durable for years, best every year get a new agent! Do not forget lips! Even the sensitive and only about 1/20 mm thick skin of the lips is attacked by the winter sun. A nourishing lipstick with built-in UV protection compensates for the missing pigments of the lips.

UV index

The UV Index rates sun intensity and sunburn risk on a scale of 1-8.

  • For a typical Central European, a UV index of 2-4 means sunburn risk for half an hour in the sun without sunscreen.
  • If the UV index is greater than 7, the radiation exposure has already increased to a very high level. Even those who spend less than 20 minutes exposing themselves to the sun can get burned. Protective measures are therefore absolutely necessary.

With the help of the UV index and the individual skin type, everyone can opt for their personal protective measures. Because the UV index is uniform throughout the world, a UV index 7, for example, can be evaluated in Germany as well as in the Swiss Alps or in Canada.

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