According to NASA and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Antarctic ozone hole reached its smallest annual peak on record since 1982, when the measurings began. Experts state that the quite tiny ozone hole is caused by exceptionally mild temperatures in that particular layer of the atmosphere.
The annual ozone hole, which includes a region of extremely depleted ozone high in the stratosphere above Antarctica, hit its peak extent of 6.3 million square miles on September 8th, and then recoiled to less than 3.9 million square meters during the remaining days of September and then October.
According to the federal science agencies, this is the third time in 40 years that weather configurations have impacted the stratospheric layer, causing warm temperatures that impede the process of ozone loss.
Man-Made Chemicals Destroys Earth’s Ozone Layer
The stratospheric ozone layer diverts incoming ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, protecting life on our planet from dangerous effects, such as skin cancer, cataracts, and harm to plants. Even so, chemicals utilized for refrigeration purposes, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), shatter the stratospheric ozone molecules, therefore, exposing the planet to even larger amounts of ultraviolet radiation.
The Montreal Protocol, a monumental international environmental treaty that was established in 1988, has managed to reduce CFC emissions all over the world. These harmful chemicals have an atmospheric life of numerous decades, and can permanently damage huge amounts of ozone over that period.
Every year, an ozone hole forms as the Sun’s beams trigger chemical reactions between the ozone molecules and man-made chemically active types of chlorine and bromine. These chemical reactions are increased on the surface of far-reaching clouds, but the conditions less severe than average in the stratosphere above Antarctica suppressed cloud formation and persistence. This was of great help in preventing the loss of a huge amount of ozone.
Since 2000, atmospheric levels of CFCs have been gradually diminishing, but they are still prevalent enough to cause annual ozone holes at the North and South poles.
Taking into consideration the fact that CFC use continues at current rates and that no ozone-damaging chemical alternatives are discovered and widely used, scientists predict the ozone to contract to its 1980 size by approximately 2070 as CFCs still present in the upper atmosphere slowly disappears.