The hole in the ozone layer in Antarctica has expanded to its largest recorded size in recent years.
In 2019, scientists revealed that the Antarctic ozone hole had killed it. The shortest annual peak since tracking began 1982, but the 2020 update on this environmental degradation – like everything else this year – brings a clear picture.
“Our observations show that the ozone hole of 2020 has risen sharply since mid-August, and covers most of the Antarctic continent – much larger than the average.” Explains Diego Loyola, project manager from the German Aerospace Center.
New measurements from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite show that the ozone hole reached its maximum size of 25 million square kilometers (approximately 9.6 million square miles) on October 2 this year.
This puts it in the same ballpark as the ozone hole of 2018 and 2015, which peaked at 22.9 and 25.6 million square kilometers, respectively.
“There’s a lot of change in how the ozone hole develops each year.” Says Atmospheric scientist Vincent-Henry Peach from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecast.
“The 2020 ozone hole is similar to 2018, which was also a much larger hole, and it’s at the top of the pack for the last 15 years or so.”
In addition to year-on-year fluctuations, the ozone hole in Antarctica also shrinks and increases each year, as the ozone concentration inside the hole decreases as the surface temperature cools.
When this happens – especially when polar stratosphere clouds form at temperatures below –– ° ° C (8108.4 – F) – chemical reactions destroy ozone molecules in the presence of sunlight.
“With sunshine returning to the South Pole in recent weeks, we have seen a steady decline in weight in the region,” he said. Says Peach.
“After an unusually small and short-lived ozone hole in 2019, driven by special meteorological conditions, we are once again making a big register this year, confirming that we have ozone. The Montreal Protocol needs to be continued to ban the release of chemicals that eliminate E. coli. “
The Montreal Protocol was one A milestone in humanity’s environmental achievements, Banning the production of harmful chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – chemicals previously used in refrigerators, packaging and sprays – that destroy ozone molecules in the sun.
While we know that human action is helping us on this front To fix the Antarctic ozone hole, Year-over-year fluctuations indicate that the healing process will be lengthy.
A. 2018 assessment The World Meteorological Organization found that the ozone layer above Antarctica would return to pre-1980 levels by about 2060. To achieve this goal, we have to stick to the protocol and do it as we see it. Years.
While not the biggest on 2020 maximum peak record – that was seen Back in 2000, With a 29.9 million square kilometer hole – this is still significant, the deepest hole in recent years.
Researchers say the 2020 event is driven by a strong Polar vortex: A wind phenomenon keeps temperatures above freezing in Antarctica.
In contrast, last year’s warmer temperatures brought the size of the 2019 record-low weight hole, as scientists described back then.
“It’s important to recognize what we’re seeing [in 2019] The warmer temperatures are due to “Paul Niman, chief scientist at Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Said at the time.
“This is not an indication that atmospheric ozone is fast approaching recovery.”
While there may not be a fast track, and we can probably expect some more scary peaks in the coming years, the Montreal Protocol has its back. If we keep the truth we are going to get there one day.