Researchers observing the ‘unprecedented’ hole form the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) announced that the opening has closed, and in spite of the global lockdown caused by the coronavirus, the experts said that this was not the reason for the ozone hole healing.
“Actually, COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this,” CAMS tweeted Sunday. “It’s been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn’t related to air quality changes.”
As the powerful polar vortex has ended, the ozone hole has closed, according to CAMS, which also said that this issue would not show up again next year.
As per recent data from NASA, ozone levels over the Arctic attained a record low in March. The depletion was definitely not normal, and 1997 and 2011 are the only other years that reached similar stratosphere depletions above the Arctic.
“While such low levels are rare, they are not unprecedented,” researchers said.
The unprecedented 2020 northern hemisphere #OzoneHole has come to an end. The #PolarVortex split, allowing #ozone-rich air into the Arctic, closely matching last week's forecast from the #CopernicusAtmosphere Monitoring Service.
— Copernicus ECMWF (@CopernicusECMWF) April 23, 2020
Chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons that are released into the atmosphere have been harming the ozone layer for the past century, ultimately leading to the unprecedented hole that formed in Antarctica back in the 1980s.
Specialists indicated towards ‘unusual atmospheric conditions’ as the culprit behind the most recent hole, leading to chemicals engaging with high-altitude clouds at incredibly low temperatures.
“This year’s low Arctic ozone happens about once per decade,” Paul Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a press release. “For the overall health of the ozone layer, this is concerning since Arctic ozone levels are typically high during March and April.”
This month, researchers from the ESA said that the rare ozone hole expanded over an area about three times the size of Greenland. They expected it to close as temperatures increased, tearing off the Arctic polar vortex and enabling ozone-depleted air to merge with ozone-abundant air from lower latitudes.