While the so-called “ozone hole” is historically known to occur over Antarctica, there has been a massive depletion of the protective ozone in the atmosphere above the Arctic. Up until recently, the size of the hole was up to 10 times the size of Greenland!
Incredibly, it has now fully closed.
The reason for its closing up and healing is not due to the overwhelming shutdown of global industry due to COVID-19. While toxic chemicals that deplete ozone are what cause the hole to open in the first place, there is another reason: the weather.
Given just how cold it was, thanks to a recent Polar Vortex in the stratosphere over this past winter, the ozone hole grew dramatically in size. In fact, it reached record levels. This most recent ozone hole was the largest it has ever been since 2011, nearly a decade ago. The UN World Meteorological Organization has now confirmed that the hole is no more.
The unprecedented 2020 northern hemisphere #OzoneHole has come to an end. The #PolarVortex split, allowing #ozone-rich air into the Arctic, closely matching last week’s forecast from the #CopernicusAtmosphere Monitoring Service.
— Copernicus ECMWF (@CopernicusECMWF) April 23, 2020
Scientists at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service have also made an official announcement of its closure.
Coronarivus is NOT Responsible For Its Closure
With all the stories of the there being less pollution because of the stringent lockdown measures due to COVID-19, you couldn’t be blamed for immediately thinking the ozone closing is because of that. However, even though there has been a significant reduction in how much air pollution is being created, the healing of the ozone is “completely unrelated to COVID.” according to WMOP spokesperson Claire Nullis.
CAMS has also confirmed that the hole healing was not because of the global reaction to the pandemic. They noted that it was “driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex.” and the improvement in the air quality has nothing to do with it.
Actually, COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this. It’s been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn’t related to air quality changes. You can read more about what’s been going on here: https://t.co/Nf6AfjaYRi
— Copernicus ECMWF (@CopernicusECMWF) April 26, 2020
10 Times Bigger Than Greenland
Surprisingly, this gargantuan hole in the ozone layer of our atmosphere was only discovered a month ago. A German scientist first made the discovery. He found that the Earth’s layer of ozone lost nearly 90% of its thickness in where it was originally the thickest. That alone is three times the size of Greenland.
Altogether, 20 million sq km of ozone was lost, at one point or another. To use the Greenland scale, that is 10 Greenlands of area!
The European Space Agency predicted the ozone hole would close up once temperatures started rising. This would cause the Polar Vortex above the arctic to break down. Then, the air that was lacking ozone would mix with air rich in it, coming in flow altitudes under 6 miles.
NASA confirmed that ozone levels above the Arctic dropped to records lows in March 2020.