This Year’s Ozone Layer Hole Bigger Than Antarctica
Scientists say it is unusually large for this state in season.
According to scientists who monitor it, the ozone hole that develops annually is “larger than usual” and bigger than Antarctica.
Scientists and researchers at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service say that the ozone hole this year is growing quicker. Its size is 75% larger than the ozone holes at this stage in the season since 1979.
According to Copernicus, the ozone depletes and forms a hole over the Antarctic in the Southern Hemisphere’s spring, beginning in August and ending in October. The ozone usually reaches its largest size in mid-September and mid-October.
Copernicus director Vincenti-Henri Peuch said in a statement that “this year, the ozone hole developed as expected at the state of the season [...] now our forecasts show that this year’s hole has evolved into a rather larger one than usual.”
The ozone layer sits between 9 and 22 miles above the earth and protects the planet from ultraviolet radiation. Last year, the ozone hole also began in September and, according to Copernicus, developed into “one of the longest-lasting ozone holes in our data record.”
Peuch said that the Monitoring Service would continue to observe its development in the following weeks. A small or large ozone hole in one year does not directly correlate to the overall recovery process. However, it can signal that special attention and research is needed. Studies need to be conducted to find the reasons behind this specific ozone hole event.
Scientists agreed that the ozone layer is caused by human-made gases called CFCs, which were used in the past for refrigeration systems and then used as propellants in aerosol spray cans. The chemicals were found to destroy the ozone when they reached certain altitudes and were broken down by high-energy UV radiation. Ever since, CFCs have been banned around the world.
Since the ban, the ozone layer has shown signs of recovery. However, it is a lengthy process and will take until around the 2060s for the substances to be depleted.