Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: For the first time ever, a hole has been detected in the Arctic ozone

The world spent the weekend lashing back our mishandling with reports of depleted Arctic ozone and dying forests. Meanwhile, Southern Californians complained of earthy tap water, organic grape tomatoes got recalled, and “hairy crazy ants” made hairy crazy news in the South. Here’s your Monday morning greens.

The infamous Antarctic ozone hole now has a twin on the other side of the world: a similar ozone hole over the Arctic has been detected for the first time. “At altitudes of about 11 to 12 miles (18 to 20 kilometers), more than 80 percent of the ozone present in January had been chemically destroyed by late March,” writes Ozone is the protective layer that deflects damaging radiation from the sun back into space.

Meanwhile, forests across the world are dying off as the climate warms, spelling a dark future for our planet., via The New York Times, shares a report on dangerous cycle of forest destruction in our world. Simply, trees absorb carbon, but as trees are destroyed by a warming planet (through increased fires or insect infestations) our planet’s “sponge” diminishes while alternating releasing more carbon into the atmosphere via fires. Forests are in decline all over the globe. For more details on this informative report, click here.

Parts of Southern California have musty tap water. An algae bloom in the East Branch of the State Water Project is responsible for the earth-tasting water flowing out of area water facets. “Officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California reported Friday that residents in portions of Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino Counties and east Los Angeles County may notice a foul odor and musty taste in their tap water but that it is not a health hazard,” reports CBS LA. The DWP has treated the water with cooper sulfate and says it is safe for consumption.

U.S. District Court judge Oliver Wanger has rejected an attempt to close a California salmon fishery. As the Los Angeles Times writes, “In one of his final rulings as a U.S. District Court judge, Oliver Wanger finally dismissed a lawsuit filed by the San Joaquin River Group Authority, which argued that to help low salmon populations recover, there should be no commercial catch.” Chinook salmon numbers were so low in 2008 and 2009 that federal official closed commercial fishing. Now their numbers have risen slightly, so the feds approved a limited season.

Fresh & Easy organic grape tomatoes have been recalled due to possible salmonella infection. “Officials say the date codes affected Sept. 9 to Oct. 5. The voluntary recall affects only limited edition and Fresh & Easy branded organic grape tomatoes,” reports ABC 7.

Finally, hairy crazy aunts are on the march from Florida to Texas. “They travel in cargo containers, hay bales, potted plants, motorcycles and moving vans. They overwhelm beehives — one Texas beekeeper was losing 100 a year in 2009. They short out industrial equipment,” writes These ants, named for their dull tinge and speedy, erratic movements, can cause millions of dollars of damage to industrial plants in a short amount of time. Texas has approved the temporary use of some pesticides to control them.

Image of the Arctic cap courtesy of NASA.

Follow Katherine Butler and Pacific Swell on Twitter.