Hole in the ozone layer is bigger and deeper than it's been for years

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Hole in the ozone layer is bigger and deeper than it's been for years

According to scientists, the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is one of the largest and deepest in recent years.

Scientists from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) say the hole that forms over the South Pole every year has reached its maximum size for 2020 as one of the largest in recent years.

The return of a major hole after an “unusually small and short-lived” ozone hole in 2019 shows the need to further enforce the global Montreal Protocol, which bans chemicals like CFCs that deplete ozone, experts said.

The stratospheric ozone layer acts as a protective shield and protects against potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation. However, man-made substances have caused an annual thinning of the layer known as the ozone hole.

These chlorine and bromine containing substances accumulate in the polar vortex – an area of ​​low pressure in the region – where temperatures can drop below minus 78 ° C and stratospheric clouds form, causing chemical reactions that deplete ozone to lead.

When the sun rises over the pole after the darkness of winter, the solar energy releases chemically active chlorine and bromine atoms in the vortex, which quickly destroy the ozone molecules and lead to the formation of the hole.

CAMS is operated by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Commission and uses computer models of the atmosphere in combination with satellite data and in-situ monitoring to assess the state of the ozone layer.

Vincent-Henri Peuch, Director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service at ECMWF, said: “There are big differences in the development of the ozone hole events per year.

“The 2020 ozone hole is similar to the 2018 hole which was also a pretty big hole, and it’s definitely in the top of the pack for the past fifteen years or so.

“When sunlight returned to the South Pole in the past few weeks, we saw continued ozone depletion in the area.

“After the unusually small and short-lived ozone hole in 2019, which was caused by special meteorological conditions, we are registering a fairly large one again this year, which confirms that we are continuing to enforce the Montreal Protocol to ban the emission of chemicals to deplete the ozone layer have to . ”

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