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About Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSC)

Context:

Recently, weather watchers have captured images of rare Polar stratospheric clouds over Scotland, northern England and the West Midland.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSC)
  2. Impacts

About Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSC):

  • Other Names:
    • Also known as nacreous clouds or mother of pearl, owing to their iridescence.
  • Formation:
    • Formed in extremely cold conditions over Polar Regions within the stratosphere, approximately 12-19 miles (19-31 km) high, well above regular clouds.
    • Composed of smaller ice particles compared to those in common clouds.
    • These smaller particles scatter light differently, resulting in their distinctive iridescent appearance.
  • Timing of Appearance:
    • Typically, PSCs first appear in January.

Impacts:

  • Ozone Depletion Indicator:
    • The frequency of PSCs serves as an indicator of potential ozone depletion.
  • Chemical Role in Stratosphere:
    • PSCs facilitate chemical reactions, transforming benign forms of chlorine into reactive, ozone-destroying forms.
    • They also eliminate nitrogen compounds that would otherwise mitigate the destructive impact of chlorine on the ozone layer.

-Source: India Today


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