Climate change puts the environment in great danger but, from time to time, researchers come with good news as well. The latest measurements have showed that the ozone hole is getting smaller, and it has actually become the smallest it has ever been since 1988. This is extremely encouraging, showing that the future might not be as dark as we thought.
The ozone hole is significantly smaller than last year
The largest size the ozone hole has reached this year was 7.6 million square miles, or the equivalent of two and a half times the surface of the US. This happened in September and, since then, the hole has seemed to be shrinking. In fact, it has kept shrinking since last year, as its biggest stage was still 1.3 million square miles smaller than last year’s biggest stage.
This happened since the conditions in the stratosphere have changed, and the weather there has got warmer. The higher temperature of the air helped keep away harmful chemicals which destroy the ozone layer. However, researchers say this is also the result of the great efforts the entire planet has made since the 1980s to reduce the size of the ozone hole.
Higher temperatures in the stratosphere reduced the size of the ozone hole
The weather in Antarctica wasn’t so harsh, so the temperatures in the stratosphere increased. This way, the harmful chemicals couldn’t act upon the ozone layer, so the hole could shrink. Researchers performed measurements with the help of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and confirmed this was the smallest size reached by the ozone hole since 1988.
In 1987, officials from many countries agreed to sign the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This way, they imposed harsher rules on the use of chemicals and compounds which could contribute on the increase of the ozone hole. The use of these compounds gradually decreases, so the size of the hole is expected to continue shrinking as well.
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