The Unprecedented Ozone Hole Over The Arctic Has Closed Up

James Marshall
May 2, 2020

An unusually large hole in the ozone layer ever observed over the Arctic in the Northern Hemisphere which formed earlier this year at the break of spring has finally closed after hovering above the North Pole for nearly a month, the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) reported. The discovery had come as a piece of good news during these stressful coronavirus times. Scientists spotted signs in late March of a rare hole forming and it was thought to be the result of low temperatures at the north pole.

The ozone layer keeps the Earth protected from the ultra-violet rays of the sun which are a significant reason for diseases like skin cancer. The hole would have posed a threat to humans if it had moved any further to the South. But recently (on April 23), Copernicus earth observation satellite system, comprising a constellation of six families of satellites (Sentinels) and dozens of third party satellites, found the hole had closed.

While most part of the world is under lockdown amid coronavirus, the pollution level has dramatically decreased and nature is healing by itself. The unusual ozone hole (and its recovery) had little to do with human activity or even changes in pollution levels from the Covid-19 lockdown, but a freakishly strong polar vortex around the North Pole.

The polar vortex is a high altitude current that circulates in an irregular ring-like pattern around the Arctic and helps keep cold air trapped above the pole.

The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole spurred a global effort to reduce the use of harmful chemicals that contribute to openness.

"It is very unusual for such strong ozone depletion to occur in the northern hemisphere, but this year's polar vortex was exceptionally strong and persistent, and temperatures were low enough to allow stratospheric cloud formation for several months, ' Copernicus" Antje Inness told Euro News.

"Not only has the treaty spurred healing of the ozone layer, it's also driving recent changes in Southern Hemisphere air circulation patterns".

The Ozone hole over the Antarctic is a much more popular phenomenon.

Man-made chemicals in the atmosphere are known to cause ozone holes in some cases.

Scientists at the University of Santiago de Chile said that the exceptional polar vortex was likewise reinforced by the ozone hole, and this has been a determining factor in Europe having the warmest winter since records began.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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