Hole in Ozone Layer Looming Over South Pole is Now Bigger Than Antarctica

By: Taylor Lambert

https://atmosphere.copernicus.eu/sites/default/files/inline-images/cams_sh_ozone_area_2021_branded.png

The hole in the ozone layer that appears yearly above the South Pole is now larger than the entire continent it looms over. The dictionary definition of the ozone layer is “a layer in the earth’s stratosphere at an altitude of about 6.2 miles (10 km) containing a high concentration of ozone, which absorbs most of the ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth from the sun.” 

Following the discovery of the ozone hole hovering over Antarctica in 1985, September 16th has been named International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), is a service that monitors the ozone layer which encompasses our earth, as well as the amount of ultraviolet radiation that makes its way through. This year CAMS has reported that the ozone hole which forms every year between August and October, has grown considerably in the last two weeks and is now bigger than 75% of the holes formed in the years since 1979. In recent studies done by CAMS, it is said that the hole could continue to grow slightly over the next two or three weeks. 

During the Southern Hemisphere’s spring (August-October) the ozone diminishes and forms a hole above the South Pole, and typically this void in Earth’s protective layer reaches its peak in size between September and October. Last year’s ozone hole was also seen to have set records as the 12th largest on record; beyond just being larger than usual, this break in the ozone also lasted longer than usual and finally closed in January of this year. Studies show that this year’s break in the ozone could be reminiscent of last years, possibly lasting just as long. 

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