Largest ozone hole ever recorded above the Arctic has CLOSED 

  • The largest ozone hole ever documented above the North Pole has closed almost as quickly as it formed.
  • The hole formed earlier this year and reached its maximum size in March some 11 miles above the surface of the Earth.
  • It was the largest ozone hole ever documented over the Arctic, beating the previous record holder, which was observed during the 2011 winter.
  • Researchers with Copernicus’ Atmospheric Monitoring Service believed the hole was caused by an unusually strong polar vortex, which explained its relatively sudden growth, according to a report in CNN.
  • The polar vortex is a high altitude current that circulates in an irregular ring-like pattern around the Arctic and helps keep cold air trapped above the pole.
  • When temperatures drop to a low enough point, polar stratospheric clouds (PCS) can form, which can in turn activate ozone-depleting chemicals like chlorine in the atmosphere.
  • On average, temperatures above the Arctic aren’t quite as cold as those above Antarctica, which makes the seasonal appearance of ozone holes in the north rare, while it is a yearly phenomenon in the south.
  • Ozone helps filter ultaviolet light from the atmosphere, and when holes appear it means more harmful solar radiation is penetrating the atmosphere and reaching the Earth’s surface.
  • It’s been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn’t related to air quality changes.
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