November 28, 2022


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The ozone hole is slowly shrinking

The ozone hole is slowly shrinking

The hole contracts over time. We note daily and weekly fluctuations due to weather changes and other factors. However, for the past two decades we have been dealing with a downtrend. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, according to which people stopped the release of substances that deplete the ozone layersays Paul Newman, chief Earth sciences scientist at Goddard Space Flight Center.

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The ozone layer in the stratosphere protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. The ozone hole formed over Antarctica decades ago. Active chemical forms of chlorine and bromine, the presence of which in the atmosphere are associated with human activity, destroy the ozone layer when the sun rises again over the pole at the end of the Antarctic winter.

NASA and NOAA use the Aura, Suomi NPP, and NOAA-20 satellites to monitor the formation and disappearance of the ozone hole. Two weeks ago, on October 5th, the hole had a size of 26.4 million square kilometers, which is slightly more than last year’s maximum (24.8 million square kilometers).

Maximum, Minimum, and Average Size of the Ozone Hole in Odd Years Through 2021 – NASA Earth Observatory, Joshua Stevens/Knowledge Mine

NOAA also performs ozone measurements using a Dobsonian spectrometer. This instrument measures the entire column of ozone from the Earth’s surface to the limits of outer space. Its average thickness is 300 units, which is equivalent to a layer of 3 mm. At the site of the ozone hole, this value is much lower. In the current year, its lowest value was 102 units. It was at a time when there was almost no ozone between the 14th and the 21st kilometer. Last year, the lowest measured value was 101 units.

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Ozone harmful substances persist in the atmosphere for 50-100 years, so we have to wait until 2060-2080 years for the ozone hole to shrink dramatically. The Montreal Protocol, which banned the use of certain ozone-depleting substances, was signed in 1987 and entered into force at the beginning of 1989. It was gradually strengthened and more substances were banned in the following years. Until 1999, 95 substances were covered by the protocol, and their emissions during that period decreased from 1.1 million tons in 1985 to less than 150 thousand. Ringtone, ring.

The latest data on the ozone hole can be found on the website NASA Ozone Watch.