January 25, 2022 4:29 pm

The ozone hole is bigger than Antarctica again

During the spring in the southern hemisphere, from August to October, a hole in the ozone layer located over Antarctica, reaching its maximum between mid-September and mid-October.

Later, when temperatures high in the stratosphere begin to rise in late spring in the southern hemisphere, ozone depletion slows down, the polar vortex weakens and finally breaks up, and in December, ozone levels usually return. to normal.

Today in the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the Atmosphere Surveillance Service (CAMS) of the European program Copernicus has offered a size update from this stratospheric hole, as well as from the ozone layer that protects the Earth from the harmful properties of the sun’s rays.

After a fairly normal start, the ozone hole of this 2021 has grown considerably in the last week, and has already reached an extension greater than that of Antarctica, exceeding in size the 75 % of ozone holes in this phase of the season since 1979.

A hole similar in size to last year

According to account Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service, “this year the ozone hole has been developing as expected during the beginning of the season, it seems quite similar to last year, which was not really exceptional in September, but then it became one of the longest on record ”.

The hole in the ozone layer of this 2021 has grown considerably in the last week, and has already reached a greater extension than that of Antarctica

“The vortex is quite stable and the stratospheric temperatures are even lower than last year, we are facing a fairly large and potentially deep ozone hole,” warns Peuch.

The monitoring of the ozone layer carried out by CAMS uses the computer modeling in combination with satellite observations, similar to weather forecasts, in order to provide a complete three-dimensional image of the state of the ozone hole.

To do this, this service combines different elements of information available, such as measurements in the part ultraviolet-visible of the solar spectrum, which are of very high quality, but due to lack of light, they are not available in the region that is still in the polar night.

Also included is another set of observations that provide crucial information about the vertical structure of the ozone layer, but has limited horizontal coverage.

Since the ban on halocarbons, the ozone layer has shown signs of recovery, but it is a slow process and it will take until the 2060s or 2070s to see a complete elimination of the substances that promote their elimination.

By combining five different information sources together using its sophisticated numerical model, CAMS can provide a detailed picture of ozone distribution with a consistent total column, profile and dynamics.

Since the prohibition of halocarburos (like CFCs) the ozone layer has shown signs of recovery, but it is a slow process and will have to wait until the decade of 2060 O 2070 to see a complete removal of the substances that reduce it.

As indicated by the Copernicus program, it is essential to maintain surveillance efforts to ensure that the Montreal protocol (an international agreement to protect the ozone layer) continues to be met.

Rights: Creative Commons.


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