The recent scientific reports have claimed that a large hole in the ozone layer first identified in March 2020 has been closed now. Amid tensions and gruesome daily news about the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed like the apocalypse was nigh.
Why is this Arctic ozone hole so rare?
Now, the hole has been plugged. Scientists expect the Antarctic ozone hole to recover back to 1980 levels by around 2070. The main reason is thought to be the strong and stable polar vortex, which has collected much more of Ozone-depleting chemicals than normal.
Though it is common knowledge that pollution has had a major negative impact in the ozone layer, the hole was not created due to this but by what scientists called the polar vortex. "The #PolarVortex split, allowing #ozone-rich air into the Arctic, closely matching last week's forecast from the #CopernicusAtmosphere Monitoring Service", read the post.
These atmospheric phenomena wean over the summer and strengthen in the winter.
At ground level, ozone or smog is a poisonous chemical often expelled by vehicle exhaust. It shields the planet from Sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, which can otherwise cause skin cancer and cataracts along with other environmental issues. Because the ozone layer is recovering, this would result in the jet streams or high altitude air currents to move upwards even more, according to the simulations researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder conducted. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) described the hole in the northern hemisphere this year as record-breaking and unusual.
Nearly four decades ago, scientists had learned that chlorine-containing industrial chemicals triggered the formation of a gaping hole in the ozone layer right above the icy continent. This was one of the few highly commendable episodes where almost all the world's countries chose to set aside their differences and work for the common good of the planet and all life that calls it home. Comparing the Arctic ozone hole to the once formed in the Antarctic every year for a duration of around 3 to 4 months and can reach a size of around 20 to 25 million sq km, Loyola said, "This is small compared to the Antarctic hole".