Ozone depletes and forms a hole over the Antarctic in the spring of the Southern Hemisphere, which occurs from August to October. According to Copernicus, it usually reaches its greatest size between mid-September and mid-October.
After growing “significantly” over the past week, the hole is now larger than 75% of the ozone holes of previous years in the same phase of the season since 1979 and is now larger than the continent it is hovering over .
“This year, the ozone hole developed as expected at the start of the season,” Copernicus director Vincent-Henri Puch said in a statement.
“Now our forecasts suggest that this year’s hole has become larger than usual.”
Last year’s hole also began unusually in September, but then morphed into “one of the longest-lasting ozone holes in our data record,” according to Copernicus.
Holes in the Southern Hemisphere are usually caused by chemicals, such as chlorine and bromine, migrating into the stratosphere, creating catalytic reactions during the Antarctic winter.
The ozone hole is related to the Antarctic polar vortex, a band of swirling cold air that moves around Earth. When high temperatures begin to rise in the stratosphere in late spring, ozone depletion slows, the polar vortex weakens and eventually breaks up, and by December, ozone levels typically return to normal.
Copernicus monitors the ozone layer using computer modeling and satellite observations, and although the ozone layer is showing signs of improvement, Copernicus says it will not fully recover until the 2060s or 2070s.
Granthshala’s Alan Kim and Ashley Strickland contributed to this report.
Credit : www.cnn.com