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Largest hole in ozone layer has finally healed

The largest-ever hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic region has finally healed, scientists have established. The hole generated in the early year and has been constantly monitored by the authorities of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) - one of the European Union's Earth observation programme.

Researchers assert that the ozone layer normally lies between nine and twenty-two miles above the Earth's surface. It constitutes a fundamental protective screen that is responsible for absorbing the sun's UV rays, well-known to be extremely harmful if close contact with humans and every living organism.

Humanity’s life-support system, as seen from space. Image credit JSC/NASA

According to scientists, a cavity of those dimensions had not been seen for almost a decade, being a huge planetary cause of concern. Yet, researchers at CAMS affirmed that the drastic reduction in pollution caused by the Coronavirus lockdown measures had nothing to do with this extraordinary news. “It's been driven by a rarely heavy and long-lived polar vortex and isn't related to air quality alterations."

To this regard, a CAMS representative posted on twitter: “The exceptional 2020 northern hemisphere #OzoneHole has closed up” after experts declared that after decades of regression the ozone layer was starting to heal.

However, even if the ozone layer breaks are not all of the same nature – the one above the Arctic is not the result of man-made pollution, - the hole sitting over the Antarctic is.

The constant and incessant use of pollutant chemicals such as chlorine and bromine played a huge role in starting the creation of a massive hole over the Antarctic region, which has been reproduced annually for the past 35 years.

Antara Banerjee, who works in the Chemical Sciences Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who’s the recent analysis is named after, explains: “This research is the evidence of the great effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol- an international treaty developed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989 to protect the ozone layer by gradually reducing the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone reduction.”

According to Dr Banerjee, “As the treaty stimulated the healing of the ozone layer, it also influenced the recent changes in Southern Hemisphere air circulation arrays” giving life to a more promising future for our planet.


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