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Record-breaking hole opens up in the ozone layer

By T.K. Randall
April 7, 2020 · Comment icon 41 comments

The hole is not expected to cause any problems. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Open Space Project
Scientists have reported that a large hole has appeared above the Arctic due to unusually low temperatures.
The Earth's ozone layer - which absorbs a large amount of the harmful ultraviolet radiation coming from the Sun - made headlines back in the 1980s when it was found that CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) in hair sprays, refrigerators, air conditioning systems and other products were causing it to thin.

Fortunately countries around the world moved to ban these chemicals in an effort to reduce or even reverse the damage they were causing and for the most part they were successful.

This does not mean that the ozone layer isn't still vulnerable, however.

This week it was revealed that a record-breaking hole had opened up above the Arctic due to a period of abnormally low temperatures in the north polar region.
Fortunately, unless it happens to move much further south, it is unlikely to cause a risk to humans and is expected to disappear again within the next few weeks.

"The hole is principally a geophysical curiosity," said Vincent-Henri Peuch of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

"We monitored unusual dynamic conditions, which drive the process of chemical depletion of ozone. [Those dynamics] allowed for lower temperatures and a more stable vortex than usual over the Arctic, which then triggered the formation of polar stratospheric clouds and the catalytic destruction of ozone."

Scientists have noted that the appearance of the hole is not related to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Whether it is an abnormality caused by current climate change trends however remains unclear.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (41)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #32 Posted by Doug1029 4 years ago
I forgot the most-interesting chronologies of all.  There are two in Europe, the European Pine Chronology and the European Oak Chronology that go back 17,000 years to the Last Glacial Maximum.  The University of Missouri is working on one for eastern North America that should go back just as far.  On the North Island of New Zealand is a swamp that is providing cores going back 60,000 years.  That chronology is still decades from completion. The Tornatrask Chronology from northern Sweden goes back almost to the Ice Age.  The White Mountain and Methuselah Walk Chronologies go back over 8500... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by RoofGardener 4 years ago
Gosh... nine times per day ? That's impressive.  So presumably in the German study, everything was fine at lunchtime, but by 15:00 the hole had appeared ?  No, I didn't think so either. So what IS the chronology of this discovery ? 
Comment icon #34 Posted by Doug1029 4 years ago
While data is recorded that frequently, it may be weeks or even years before anybody takes a good look at it.  That is probably the reason for the time lag. Doug
Comment icon #35 Posted by Doug1029 4 years ago
P.S.:  I have cross-dated Tornatrask against the White Mountain Chronology.  They agree back to the year 535.  Between then and about 6000 YBP, there is a six-year discrepancy with Tornatrask having the shorter chronology.  I think the difference is missing rings due to ice storms.  Maybe I'll get to test that someday. Doug  
Comment icon #36 Posted by Doug1029 4 years ago
P.S.:  Data is usually recorded by automated stations that radio their information to a home computer once or twice a day.  Never touched by human hands. Doug
Comment icon #37 Posted by mdbuilder 4 years ago
So what? Earth has been warmer, it's been cooler. Mankind hasn't always been here and we'll be gone again soon [in relative terms].
Comment icon #38 Posted by Doug1029 4 years ago
This is the first time that temperature rise correlates with the release of carbon into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.  That is what is new this time. This is the first time that climate change has been driven by human activities. Doug
Comment icon #39 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
Comment icon #40 Posted by spartan max2 4 years ago
I'm so confused. How does that happen in the matter of weeks?
Comment icon #41 Posted by mdbuilder 4 years ago
That is pathetic. Associating recurring natural cosmic cycles with the relatively recent arrival of man epitomizes their self-centered self-importance.

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