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ESA satellites detect an unusual hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic region
Over the years, some progress has been made in restoring the giant hole in the planet’s ozone layer. However, satellites from the European Space Agency or ESA noticed something unusual about the ozone layer in the Arctic region.
Express reports that ESA’s Copernicus-Sentinel 5P satellite detected a stark decrease in ozone levels above the Arctic region. It should be noted that holes in the ozone layer above the Arctic region are a regular occurrence, but the strong decrease in this recent one is what makes this unusual, nothing unlike researchers have seen. According to the scientists at the German Aerospace Center, this may be caused by the unusually cold temperatures in the atmosphere, such as the freezing temperatures in the stratosphere. The drop in atmospheric temperature would cause the hole to expand.
Based on their research, the cold winds in the North pole trapped the cold air into what is referred to as a polar vortex. As the polar winter ended with the first glimpse of sunlight, the polar winters could potentially mean four months of night, triggering a reaction that led to the decreasing of the ozone layer above the region.
According to Diego Loyal of the German Aerospace Center, “The ozone hole we observe over the Arctic this year has a maximum extension of less than one million square kilometers. This is small compared to the Antarctic hole, which can reach a size of around 20 to 25 million square kilometers with a normal duration of up to 3 to 4 months.”
ESA Copernicus-Sentinel 5P mission manager Claus Zehner said, “The Tropomi total ozone measurements are extending Europe’s capability of the continuous ozone monitoring from space since 1995. In this time, we have not witnessed an ozone hole formation of this size over the Arctic.”
Moving back to the rare bit of good news regarding the ozone layer, it was previously reported to be making a big recovery following the gaping hole that exposed many to the solar rays. Scientists claimed that the ozone layer would be fully recovered in a span off 42 years. This stems back to the 1987 Montreal protocol that banned certain chemicals from being used as they were found to be weakening the ozone layer.
Scientists say that the ozone layer in the northern hemisphere would be recovered by 2030 and the southern hemisphere by 2060.