It is well known that volcanic eruptions can contribute to ozone layer damage.
There has been research released recently on the Tongan volcanic eruption early this year that suggests the water that was shot into the stratosphere from the underwater eruption may have created conditions that contributed to even more damage to our ozone layer.
It sounds pretty scary, right? Thankfully this kind of damage is actually reversible because that water will disappear over the coming years. But when it comes to other ozone damage, we are not so fortunate.
It is normal for the ozone layer to break down naturally and repair itself over time, but it has been getting thinner over time, outside of the usual "wear and tear".
“New Zealand often ranks highest in the World for Skin Cancer rates. Even on cloudy days, you can burn within minutes, and people are often caught out at this time of year,” Hazel Potterton, National Advisor: SunSmart from Cancer Society of New Zealand.
And then there are the Australian fires over the summer of 2019-2020. Killing billions of animals, at least 34 people and destroying 3000 homes, the wildfires also affected the atmosphere in a way that scientists had never seen before, potentially harming the ozone layer even further.
With all of this happening, experts are warning people in New Zealand to be extra cautious this summer, as our ultraviolet radiation levels are already showing to be higher than in 2021.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family? The good old "Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap"
You've heard it before, right? Slip on something to cover your skin where possible. Slop on your sunscreen (we can help you here! 😉) Slap on a hat. Wide-brimmed, if you can. Wrap on some sunnies.
It sounds cheesy, but it's the best thing you can do to keep yourself safe and non crispy in the coming hotter months.
We're in for a hot summer, and it's vital we do all we can to stay safe and cool!