NASA measured the annual ozone hole over Antarctica like any other year before this. However, the results came back with some rare pieces of good news as far as our planet’s environment is concerned. It turns out that the region is the smallest ever recorded since the year of 1988. The peak extension was observed on September 11 when the area was two and a half the size of the territory of the United States.
The Latest Warm Temperatures and 1980s Regulations Colluded to the Shrinkage of the Ozone Hole
Even though this year’s hole was 7.6 million square miles wide at its peak, it is still 1.3 million square miles smaller than last year. On top of that, the area retracted its limits even more than that since September.
“The Antarctic ozone hole was exceptionally weak this year,”
NASA researchers believe that the warm temperatures are accountable for this improvement. The warmer air in the stratosphere can defend the ozone layer from damaging chemical agents such as chlorine or bromine.
However, this improvement can also have its roots in the mid-1980s. This was when authorities banned ozone-depleting chemicals. Nonetheless, it took around 30 years for this measure to finally show positive results.
The good news appeared just after the 30th anniversary since the menacing hole was discovered. The first record of this phenomenon persuaded authorities to implement the 1987 Montreal Protocol. This came to represent an international agreement backed by massive global efforts to put an end to the use of ozone-depleting chemicals.
It Might Take 50 Years Until the Area Falls Back to Its 1980s Form
Ozone is a colorless gas that shields Earth from damaging ultraviolet radiation of the sun. The thinner this layer gets, the more exposed people are to the side effects of radiation. This exposure can result in higher chances of developing skin cancer and cataract disease. However, it can also impact Earth’s environment and drastically change it.
According to NASA, the ozone hole over Antarctica reached its maximum size in the year of 2,000 when it measured 11.5 million square miles wide. Scientists believe it would take around 50 years for this area to return to its large 1980s form.