The ozone hole in the southern hemisphere has exceeded the size of Antarctica, scientists from the Copernicus Earth Observation program said on Thursday. – In the next two or three weeks it may grow slightly more – emphasized Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).
The ozone hole over Antarctica appears in spring in the polar regions of the southern hemisphere, i.e. in August-October. This has been a recurring phenomenon since the 1980s. The ozone hole usually reaches its largest size between mid-September and mid-October.
After last week’s “significant” increase, the hole is larger than 75 percent of the previous year’s ozone holes at the same point in the season since 1979, and larger than the continent it hovers, the Earth observation program Copernicus said on Thursday. By September 13, it had expanded to 23 million square kilometers. The area of Antarctica is over 14 million square kilometers.
– This year the ozone hole developed, as expected, at the start of the season. It seems quite similar to last year’s, which later turned out to be one of the longest-lasting ozone holes, said Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).
Ozone hole in the southern hemisphere. “It can still grow”
The ozone layer 14-35 kilometers above the Earth is a natural protective layer of gas in the stratosphere that shields life on the planet from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
The ozone hole in the southern hemisphere is usually caused by chemicals such as chlorine and bromine, among others, that enter the stratosphere and deplete the ozone layer. The ozone hole is related to the polar vortex, i.e. swirling cold air that circulates around the Earth.
“The temperature in the stratosphere is lower than last year, so the ozone hole may slightly grow in the next two or three weeks,” explained Peuch.
Ozone returns to normal levels, usually by December, when spring temperatures in the southern hemisphere begin to rise and ozone depletion slows.
International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
September 16 was the International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. It is a holiday established by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 1994.
Following the discovery of the spring ozone hole over Antarctica in 1985, the international community established cooperation mechanisms to take action to protect the ozone layer. Almost 200 countries have signed the so-called Montreal Protocol with the primary goal of controlling the total global production and consumption of ozone-depleting chemicals.
CNN, Copernicus, IMGW, tvnmeteo.pl
Main photo source: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, ECMWF