This Year’s Ozone Hole Is the Smallest It’s Been Since 1988

Posted by on November 4, 2017 in Climate Change, Environment with 0 Comments
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By Lorraine Chow | EcoWatch

The hole in Earth’s ozone layer is the smallest it’s been since 1988, NASA satellite estimates observed.

While the ozone hole is still enormous—measuring about 19.6 million square kilometers (7.6 million square miles, or 2.5 times the size of the U.S.) at its annual peak extent this Sept. 11—that’s much smaller compared to the average area of ozone hole maximums since 1991 of roughly 26 million square kilometers (10 million square miles).


“In the past, we’ve always seen ozone at some stratospheric altitudes go to zero by the end of September,” said Bryan Johnson, NOAA atmospheric chemist. “This year our balloon measurements showed the ozone loss rate stalled by the middle of September and ozone levels never reached zero.”

The ozone shield in Earth’s stratosphere helps absorb the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet radiation, which causes problems such as skin cancer.

Since the alarming discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in the 1980s, international efforts such as the landmark 1987 Montreal Protocol have phased out the industrial production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons used in air-conditioning, refrigeration and aerosol-spray propellants.

The Antarctic ozone hole at its widest extent for the year, as measured on September 11, 2017. Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite.

 

 

 

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