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The ozone hole over the South Pole is now bigger than Antarctica

A map of the ozone hole over the South Pole on September 15 2021

A map of the ozone hole over the South Pole on September 15 2021

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF

The hole in the ozone layer that kinds yearly over the South Pole has grown bigger than Antarctica in the previous week.

Each 12 months between August and October – throughout the Southern Hemisphere’s spring season – the ozone depletes over the Antarctic area, with the hole reaching a most measurement between mid-September and mid-October.

This 12 months’s hole is now bigger than 75 per cent of earlier ozone holes at this level in the season since 1979, although it is unclear why it has grown extra than standard.

In 2020, the ozone hole reached a peak of about 24 million sq. kilometres at the begin of October, which was comparatively bigger than the previous years. At the starting of this 12 months’s season, the ozone hole began out growing in a method that urged it will be about the identical measurement, however it has grown significantly bigger over the previous week.

This change is being carefully monitored by the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) by means of laptop modelling and satellite tv for pc observations.

“As far as we can see it’s no longer growing very fast, but we could still see some increases in the beginning of October,” says Vincent-Henri Peuch at CAMS.

The ozone layer offers us with safety from the solar’s dangerous UV rays. The use of artificial compounds, reminiscent of chlorofluorocarbons, over the previous century has contributed to those holes, as they will attain the stratosphere the place they break down and launch chlorine atoms that destroy ozone molecules.

Signs of restoration have been noticed since these artificial compounds have been banned, however restoration of the ozone layer is nonetheless gradual.

“It’s not because one year is super big or super small that the process of the ozone hole recovery is necessarily in danger,” says Peuch. “There is big variability from year to year, and in order to assess the process of the recovery of the ozone layer, one has to look at several years to see the difference.”

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