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Ozone hole detected over Antarctica

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, a large ozone hole was detected over Antarctica in September 2023, measuring approximately 26 million square kilometres, which is about three times the size of Brazil.

More about the news

  • The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite recorded the ozone hole as part of the EU’s environmental monitoring program.
  • Experts, including Claus Zehner, the mission manager for Copernicus Sentinel-5P, stated that this year’s ozone hole started earlier than usual and had a significant extension.
  • Contrary to concerns about climate change, experts do not believe that this ozone hole will contribute to increased warming on the surface of Antarctica.
  • The ozone hole over Antarctica opens each year in August and closes again in November or December, influenced by special winds caused by the Earth’s rotation.
  • The cause of this year’s giant ozone hole is attributed to volcanic eruptions at Hunga Tonga in Tonga during December 2022 and January 2023, which released water vapor and other ozone-depleting elements into the stratosphere.
  • While this year’s ozone hole appears to be linked to natural events, human activities, particularly the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as propellants, were responsible for earlier ozone holes.
  • The Montreal Protocol, established in 1987, successfully phased out the production of ozone-depleting substances, leading to a decrease in the size of ozone holes.
  • Although ozone depletion is not a primary driver of global climate change, rising global temperatures may impact ozone holes, with wildfires injecting smoke into the stratosphere potentially causing more ozone depletion.

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