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Big Ozone Holes Headed For Extinction By 2040

2017-12-08

NASA

NASA
Washington, DC, United States

Caption: This is a conceptual animation showing ozone-depleting chemicals moving from the equator to the poles. The chemicals become trapped by the winds of the polar vortex, a ring of fast moving air that circles the South Pole.

Watch full video: youtu.be/7n2km69jZu8

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The next three decades will see an end of the era of big ozone holes. In a new study, scientists from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center say that the ozone hole will be consistently smaller than 12 million square miles by the year 2040.

Ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere cause an ozone hole to form over Antarctica during the winter months in the Southern Hemisphere. Since the Montreal Protocol agreement in 1987, emissions have been regulated and chemical levels have been declining. However, the ozone hole has still remained bigger than 12 million square miles since the early 1990s, with exact sizes varying from year to year.

The size of the ozone hole varies due to both temperature and levels of ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere. In order to get a more accurate picture of the future size of the ozone hole, scientists used NASA’s AURA satellite to determine how much the levels of these chemicals in the atmosphere varied each year. With this new knowledge, scientists can confidently say that the ozone hole will be consistently smaller than 12 million square miles by the year 2040. Scientists will continue to use satellites to monitor the recovery of the ozone hole and they hope to see its full recovery by the end of the century.

Research: Inorganic chlorine variability in the Antarctic vortex and implications for ozone recovery.

Journal: Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, December 18, 2014.

Link to paper: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JD022295/abstract.

Details

  • Title: Big Ozone Holes Headed For Extinction By 2040
  • Date Created: 2017-12-08
  • Location: Greenbelt, MD
  • Rights: GSFC
  • Album: ayoung

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