The hole in the ozone layer is approaching record size

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  • A hole in the ozone layer appears seasonally over Antarctica.
  • Its size varies due to temperature and other weather conditions.
  • The hole is linked to pollution from compounds used in air conditioning, refrigerants and other applications.

Scientists at the European Space Agency say the annual hole in the ozone layer rose to a record size in September.

But this is not as bad as it seems. Hole in the ozone layer It seems Every year around this time, their size varies due to temperature and other weather conditions.

“Ozone is not just there, some of it is created and some of it is destroyed on a regular basis,” said Stephen Montzka, chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Global Monitoring LaboratoryWeather.com said in an interview.

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The hole in the ozone layer is not quite a hole. Rather, it is a Thinning of the atmosphere Which occurs over Antarctica.

It is not present all the time. The hole appears seasonally during the polar spring, which coincides with autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

This is all due to the extreme weather and other conditions found over Antarctica. The cold, dark winters there allow for unique views Polar stratospheric clouds To form high in the atmosphere. They react with ozone-depleting chemicals, which are activated by ultraviolet radiation when… The sun finally rises Again after months of darkness.

“The springtime stratosphere over Antarctica is the coldest region of the stratosphere,” Montzka said. “It has been kept out of the sun all winter.”

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Montzka said it was too early to determine the total size of the hole this year. It usually reaches its peak and then begins to decline again in September and October.

Scientists at the European Space Agency said that the hole expanded to three times the size of Brazil in September, making it one of the largest. The biggest ever At that time.

There have been some predictions that water vapor from the eruption of the Honga Tonga volcano in the western Pacific Ocean in January 2022 could make the ozone hole larger than usual this year.

On an annual basis, the ozone layer remains on track to fully recover in the next few decades, Montzka said.

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The ozone hole was first brought to the attention of scientists in the 1970s and 1980s. It was linked to pollution caused by chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, that were used in air conditioning, refrigerants and other applications. the Montreal Protocolsigned in 1987, banned CFCs, but they are still present in our atmosphere.

The Global Monitoring Laboratory monitors the ozone layer to ensure countries’ compliance with the Montreal Protocol, which is considered the most successful agreement of its kind.

“Ozone is quite important because it filters out high-energy ultraviolet rays from the sun,” Montezka said. “If this layer did not exist, life on Earth as we know it today would not exist.”

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Weather.com Reporter Jean Childs Covers breaking news and features on weather, space, climate change, environment and everything in between.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment, and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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