The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica reached its annual maximum point of 26.4 million square kilometers on Wednesday, October 5. Although this is the third year in a row that the ozone hole has expanded to this kind of size, the general trend shows that it is still shrinking.
According to a statement from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Chief Earth Scientist Paul Newman, “all the data says the ozone is improving.”
What caused the hole in the ozone layer to grow?
Scientists say this is due to cooler-than-normal temperatures in the southern polar regions at an elevation of 12 to 20 kilometers where the ozone hole is located, as conditions are ripe for consuming chlorine chemicals. ozone. Thus, cold weather at high altitudes is responsible for this moderately large size of the hole in the ozone box in Antarctica. But the trend, is what it is, experts say, is improving their situation.
The trend is for improvement. Chlorine and bromine chemicals in the atmosphere eat away at the Earth’s protective ozone layer. Cold weather creates clouds that release chemicals and so colder weather means more clouds and a bigger ozone hole.
The colder the spring, therefore, the greater the potential for damage, which explains why recent years have seen particularly large ozone holes.
Fortunately, the ozone layer has been recovering for several decades, largely thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol that banned the use of CFCs.
What really is the ozone hole?
Ozone depletion allows for increased UV radiation, which can mean an increased risk of skin cancer and cataracts in humans, as well as a weakened immune system. It can also affect agricultural productivity. For other life forms on Earth, it can affect marine life and entire ecosystems.
Referencia: NASA OZONE WATCH National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Goddard Space Flight Center