Modeling the Impact of Ozone Depletion on Skin Cancer Incidence : Southern Extreme of Chile & Argentina


Escobar-Ferrand, Luis A.


Modeling the Impact of Ozone Depletion on Skin Cancer Incidence : Southern Extreme of Chile & Argentina




New York Institute of Technology


Ozone layer depletion






Thesis (M.S.)--New York Institute of Technology


School of Engineering and Computing Sciences


Department of Environmental Technology


Stanley M. Greenwald, P.E.


Ozone Layer depletion has come to be known as one of the most serious environmental problems. In the year 2000 the Ozone Hole has been the deepest ever recorded. The depletion in the Ozone Layer in the stratosphere provokes an important increase of biologically effective UV-b doses received at the Earth Surface creating a high risk for living species. The Antarctic and its polar circle are completely exposed to the hole produced by the photochemistry of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Nowadays, the Ozone Depletion is beginning to affect inhabited areas being the southern extreme of Chile and Argentina known as the Patagony the most affected zone around the world.
The consequences of Ozone depletion and the increment of UV-b radiation have a big impact and incidence in the health of humans in the Patagony. A high UV-b radiation is able to produce and promote several types of skin cancer, damage the immune system, produce cataract and other eye damage, increase the risk of allergies, provoke toxic dermatitis and activate some illness produced by bacteria and viruses.
In this study, a three-layer back propagation neural network was developed incorporating the significant meteorological variables to estimate the impact of ozone layer depletion on skin cancer in the Patagony. At this time, Punta Arenas in Chile and Usuahia in Argentina are the locations where skin cancer incidences are the highest reported in the world.
The forecasting was made for the next fifty years predicting the chlorine concentration in troposphere and stratosphere, the thickness of ozone layer around the Patagony measured in Dobson Units and its percentage of depletion, and the incidence of this depletion on the main types of skin cancer. The Montreal Protocol and its amendments of London and Copenhagen were assumed as the three possible scenarios.
The results show that the chain model is completely applicable to this prediction and indicate that 2010 will achieve the maximum tropospheric chlorine concentration if the London and Copenhagen amendments are accomplished. The ozone layer thickness according to the actual conditions is decreasing every year, but considering a complete compliance of the Montreal Protocol it would be possible to recover the original value. In this sense, special consideration must be given for austral spring period (especially during October). It is known that in this month a diminishment of 100 -120 DU Jess than the media can be normally found. Respecting to the influence on skin cancer, independent of the scenario or the type of cancer, it is clear that the maximum damage will be produced the next fifty years with an increment of 75% on MSC by 2050 over the actual values if the people keep their life styles.
One of the great results is to realize that this model prediction can be very accurate with a correct parameter election. The system was checked with the real data obtained by satellite in 1994 and for Ozone Depletion and Chlorine concentration the model had a statistical error of 3.2±2.0% and 6.7±3.1% respectively.
Finally, the Chilean government knowing this situation has the opportunity to apply an efficient preventive plan in order to minimize the risk and try to keep the lowest effect on skin cancer and other diseases for the next 50 years.




Escobar-Ferrand, Luis A., Modeling the Impact of Ozone Depletion on Skin Cancer Incidence : Southern Extreme of Chile & Argentina. New York Tech Institutional Repository, accessed March 3, 2024,

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