Thursday, September 30th 2004 - 21:00 UTC

Ozono risk forecasted to be milder.

The annual thinning of the ozone layer with its dangerous consequences for human beings is forecasted to be milder this year according to Claudio Casiccia head of the Ozone and UV Laboratory in Magallanes University.

Apparently the worst days this year actually occurred 20, 21 and 22 September when ozone concentration was at its lowest but UV radiation, fortunately, was not that strong because of heavy clouds.

"This year the ozone hole over the Antarctic has smaller dimensions than in previous seasons. We don't expect it to expand much further and its effects over the region and the Southern Cone of South America are considerably more difficult to forecast because it's not only the size of the hole that matters, but how it moves and its contour and shape deforms", underlined Mr. Casiccia.

However Mr. Casiccia was insistent that all precautions and protection against the effects of UV radiation remain and be respected by Magallanes Region population.

"Only two years ago we had a record 30 million square kilometres ozone hole, so we must remain alert as well as insist with the UV protection education programs in schools", added Mr. Casiccia.

Finally Mr. Casiccia said it was imperative Argentina and Chile pool resources for ozone research since, "although we are the most exposed region in the world to the ozone layer thinning, it's the area were less resources are invested in the matter".

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