NASA: Ozone hole shrunk to a minimum size

However, scientists explain this not by human efforts to reduce emissions, but by changes in the weather.

The ozone hole over the planet’s South Pole has shrunk to a record level since it was first discovered in the 1980s, NASA said.
The aerospace Agency reported that the average size of the hole in Earth’s protective ozone layer is currently 9.3 million square kilometers, while it typically grows to 20.7 million square kilometers in late September and early October.

“This is very good news,” says NASA scientist Paul Newman. – This means that the hemisphere is covered with a larger volume of ozone, and the level of ultraviolet radiation on the surface decreases.”

Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs some of the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, which can cause skin cancer, cataracts, suppress the immune system and harm plants.

However, NASA scientists believe the most likely reason for the reduction of the ozone hole is not the latest efforts of mankind to reduce emissions, but changes in the weather.

“We need to understand that the situation we are seeing this year is due to the warming of the stratosphere,” Newman said. – This does not mean that ozone levels in the atmosphere suddenly began to recover rapidly.”

To chlorine in the atmosphere turned into a substance that absorbs ozone, you need cold temperatures in the stratosphere and clouds, explains Newman. With warming clouds dissipate.

This year, temperatures under the atmosphere were 29 degrees above average.

Artificial chlorine compounds, which can persist in the atmosphere for 100 years, damage the ozone layer by creating holes. This effect is most noticeable over Antarctica, “because of the special atmospheric and chemical conditions that exist only there, and nowhere else,” the National oceanic and atmospheric administration said.

The international Montreal Protocol, developed in 1987 to reduce damage, banned the production of many chlorine compounds used in refrigerators and aerosols, such as hairspray. After that, the size of the ozone hole began to shrink slowly, but it remains large enough to lead to a significant loss of ozone.

Scientists estimate that ozone levels over Antarctica will recover to 1980 levels by about 2070.

The hole reaches its maximum size in September-October, after which it disappears by the end of December until the following year.

Author: Flyn Braun
Graduated from Cambridge University. Previously, he worked in various diferent news media. Currently, it is a columnist of the us news section in the Free News editors.
Function: Editor