The ozone layer is one of the most important layers in the earth’s atmosphere. But unfortunately, it has a hole that grows annually, and more recently it has become even bigger than Antarctica for the first time in decades.
According to researchers from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the hole is growing more quickly this year and is bigger than 75% of ozone holes at this stage since 1979. Earth has different layers over it, in which ozone lies at seven to 25 miles above its surface. As many of us know, it basically protects our planet from harmful solar storms, harmful sun rays, and UV radiation also.
The ozone hole in the Antarctic region generally reaches its peak between mid-September and mid-October. When the temperature starts increasing in the stratosphere and mainly in late southern hemisphere spring, ozone depletion slows then the polar vortex weakens, and after that breaks down and after that by December, ozone levels come to their usual level.
However, it has been observed every year that a hole develops over the southern hemisphere in late winter because at this time the sun’s ozone depletion reactions become more intense. The reactions have chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine basically came from compounds made by humans. Copernicus said that this year’s hole has evolved into a rather larger one than generally observed.
Vincent-Henri Peuch, the service’s director in a statement to The Guardian says,
“We cannot really say at this stage how the ozone hole will evolve. However, the hole of this year is remarkably similar to the one of 2020, which was among the deepest and the longest-lasting – it closed around Christmas – in our records since 1979.”
“The 2021 ozone hole is now among the 25% largest in our records since 1979, but the process is still underway. We will keep monitoring its development in the next weeks.
A large or small ozone hole in one year does not necessarily mean that the overall recovery process is not going ahead as expected, but it can signal that special attention needs to be paid and research can be directed to study the reasons behind a specific ozone hole event.”
Scientists remarked that the hole and mainly the depletion in the ozone layer is happening because gases made by humans like CFCs came into existence firstly back in the 1930s. Such chemicals have so much stability that they can travel from Earth’s surface to the stratosphere.
But after that, the stratosphere where ozone exists is depleted by UV radiations. CFCs are banned in 197 countries but in the name of development, so many harmful gases are still being released into the atmosphere by humans due to which ozone is still in danger. Researchers from Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service believe that the ozone layer won’t completely recover until the 2060s or 2070s.