Holes in the ozone layer have generated worldwide concern over increased health risks like cancer and other negative effects for humans. As people throughout the world are doing their best to stay at home during the ongoing pandemic, this harsh situation is helping the environment to cleanse and heal itself.
The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) announced the closure of the biggest arctic ozone hole last week. But surprisingly enough, CAMS suggested that the COVID-19 context has nothing to do with this:
“Actually, COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this,”
“It’s been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn’t related to air quality changes.”
NASA revealed that ozone levels from the Arctic reached a record low in March. The ozone layer was destroyed in the past century by chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons. Scientists claim that a series of unusual atmospheric conditions led to the most recent hole within the ozone layer. The outcome was represented by industrial chemicals interacting with clouds at abnormally low temperatures.
Paul Newman, who is chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA, added an even more surprising statement:
“But we do know that if we hadn’t stopped putting chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere because of the Montreal Protocol, the Arctic depletion this year would have been much worse.”
For those who don’t know, an ozone hole is a dramatic thinning of the ozone layer that gets boosted in size by colder temperatures. Ozone holes had been forming every year for the past 35 years in the Antarctic. The cause was represented by human-made chemicals that migrated into the stratosphere and accumulated inside a polar vortex.
Whether the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the culprit for the healing of the ozone hole or not, lockdown and staying at home as most as possible during these harsh times are good ideas.