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Largest Ozone Hole Ever Recorded over North Pole Has Now 'Healed Itself' and Closed

Image credits: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

Image credits: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

The ozone hole became the largest one ever recorded in the Arctic region spanning an area of over 620,000 square miles (or 997793.28 kms).

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Raka Mukherjee

If the global pandemic wasn't enough, there was more bad news in early April this year: the largest ozone hole ever recorded.

A massive hole has opened up in the ozone layer which had opened up above the Artic, because of climate change and the atypically cooler temperatures in the atmosphere above the north pole, for this time of the year, have led to this rapid depletion of the ozone in that region.

This ozone hole became the largest one ever recorded in the Arctic region spanning an area of over 620,000 square miles (or 997793.28 kms).

But in some positive news since the incident, scientists who have been observing the ozone hole at Copernicus' Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) has announced that the hole is now closed.

While with sightings of rare animals in all parts of the world and nature healing and the drastic effects of climate change finally slowing down, we could be eager to attribute it to pollution levels going down across the globe due to coronavirus lockdown in many countries, but the actual reason is different: it's just nature.

Noting that the "rather unusual" hole was caused not by human activity but a particularly strong Arctic polar vortex.

"In 2020 the Arctic polar vortex has been exceptionally strong and long lived. Furthermore, temperatures in the Arctic stratosphere were low enough for several months at the start of 2020 to allow the formation of PSCs, resulting in large ozone losses over the Arctic," said CAMS.

But its not completely just nature either - of course, humans are at fault for a lot more ozone holes. "The Antarctic ozone hole is mainly caused by human-made chemicals including chlorine and bromine that migrate into the stratosphere – a layer of the atmosphere around 10–50 kilometres above sea level. These chemicals accumulate inside the strong polar vortex that develops over the Antarctic every winter where they remain chemically inactive in the darkness," it also explained.

The last time such a strong chemical ozone depletion was observed in the Arctic occurred nearly a decade ago, in 2011.

CAMS also mentioned that it would continue to monitor the region to see the progress of how the ozone layer after 'healing itself' mixes with the stratosphere.


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