More Antarctica: Ozone Hole Over South Pole Increases Sharply
Scientists do not yet know what caused such a sharp increase in the ozone hole.
Every year over the South Pole the pole of the Earth forms an ozone hole. This year, the hole has become larger than Antarctica in just a week.Every year between August and September, when spring begins in the Southern Hemisphere, the ozone layer over Antarctica becomes thinner. Thus, the ozone hole reaches its maximum size between mid-September and mid-October.
This year, the ozone hole has exceeded 75% of all recorded holes since 1979. Scientists do not yet know why the ozone hole has grown so rapidly this year.
In 2020, the size of the ozone hole peaked at 24 million square meters. km in early October. At the beginning of this season, the ozone hole developed in a familiar way, it has grown significantly in size over the past week.
The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) monitors changes in the ozone holes using computer simulations and satellite observations.
& # 171; As far as we can tell, the ozone hole has stalled, but we can still see some increase in early October & # 187;, says CAMS expert Vincent-Henri Poy.
The ozone layer provides important protection against harmful UV rays. Over the past century, this layer of the atmosphere has thinned due to the use of compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons. They reach the stratosphere and release chlorine atoms, which destroy ozone molecules.
The restoration of the Earth's ozone layer began after the aforementioned compounds were banned from use, although the process is not going too quickly.
Record rates for the depth and area of ozone holes have never been observed for several years in a row. The largest ozone hole is known to have been recorded in 2006. But the long-term trend remains unchanged: from the 1980s to the early 1990s, the hole grew rapidly in size.
In the early years of the 21st century, the magnitude of annual ozone holes stabilized. According to scientists, annual fluctuations in the size of holes are caused by changes in temperature and atmospheric circulation. Colder conditions increase the area and decrease ozone at the center of the hole.
Models predict that Antarctica's ozone layer will largely recover by 2040.