Science in Action

BBC World Service

News & Politics

The BBC brings you all the week's science news.


Antarctic Ozone Hole Is Finally Closing

June 30th, 2016

Episode 99 of 158 episodes

Thirty years ago researchers linked the Ozone Hole in Antarctica with the use of chlorine- and bromine-based sprays. There followed an immediate worldwide ban. Scientists only very recently detected the slow healing process in the Ozone layer at the South Pole. However, external factors, such as atmospheric particles resulting from recent volcanic eruptions, are disrupting this recovery. Amazon Rainforest The Amazonian rainforest is at risk from human activities even in protected areas. Quantification of biodiversity reveals a significant drop near the site of human activities compared to pristine areas. Current management standards and climate change also leave the forest much more prone to large-scale fires. Helium Discovery Helium is becoming a scarce resource on Earth. It’s critical for the medical and nuclear industries. The ultra-light gas is easily lost to the atmosphere and space. The gas is usually discovered by accident during oil and gas drilling. But now, a team of UK scientists and Norwegian prospectors have been specifically looking for helium and they have just detected a large helium gas field in the African Rift Valley, probably of volcanic origin. Undead genes Researchers at the University of Washington measured unexpected post-mortem activity of genes linked to embryonic development and cancer in animal tissues. The causes are unknown but they suspect a slow unravelling of the DNA three-dimensional structure, exposing these previously hidden genes. Gene activity last up to four days post-mortem and could have applications in forensics to accurately pinpoint the time of death. Programme image: Results of a new study show that the Montreal Protocol’s efforts to control ozone-depleting substances are helping to “heal” the Antarctic ozone hole. Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Fiona Roberts

Featured Podcast