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article imageLargest-ever ozone hole over the Arctic has closed

By Karen Graham     Apr 28, 2020 in Science
An “unprecedented” hole in the ozone layer which developed to become the largest ever seen over the Arctic has closed just weeks after opening, according to scientists monitoring ozone concentrations over the North Pole,.
From March 14, 2020, until April 7, scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) had noticed and been following the unusually strong depletion of ozone over the northern polar regions, according to Digital Journal.
Using data from the Tropomi instrument onboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, - which measures spectral bands in the UV, VIS, NIR, and SWIR - scientists were able to watch the formation of the hole in the atmosphere.
The depleted area over the North Pole seat a record for ozone depletion in the Northern Hemisphere, however, scientists announced last week that the "rather unusual" hole was caused not by human activity but a particularly strong Arctic polar vortex, according to CTV News Canada, quoting the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).
We can't blame the reduction in pollution worldwide for the ozone hole disappearing, as much as we would like to, though. "COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this," the group said on Twitter. "It's been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn't related to air quality changes."
According to the Independent, CAMS scientists noted: “This ozone hole was basically a symptom of the larger problem of ozone depletion, and closed because of local annual cycles, not long-term healing. But, there’s hope: the ozone layer is also healing, but slowly.”
Both the North and South Poles are surrounded by a mass of low pressure and cold air called a polar vortex. Typically, they weaken during the summer and strengthen during the winter months. Generally, too, the Arctic polar vortex is not as strong as the Antarctic polar vortex because of the nearby land masses and mountainous regions surrounding the northern pole.
CAMS does not predict the ozone numbers will return to the extremely low levels experienced in early April, offering some hope in these bleak times: the ozone layer is slowly healing, one way or another.
More about Ozone hole, Arctic, largestever, northern hemisphere, copernicus
 
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