Ozone hole in Antarctic Shrinks

Globe - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - The size of the ozone hole was the second smallest it has been in the last 20 years. Satellite data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicates the Antarctic ozone hole was approximately 8.2 million square miles on September 22, 2012. The average size of the hole in 2012 was 6.9 million square miles.

Comparatively, the largest recording of the ozone hole was on September 6, 2000, when it measured 11.5 million square miles. Scientists believe that the ozone hole is shrinking because of warmer temperatures in the area.

NASA atmospheric scientist Paul Newman of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said that the ozone hole is primarily created from chlorine that came from chemicals made by humans. He added that chlorine levels are still considerable in the Antarctic stratosphere and attributes changes in temperatures to the smaller ozone hole this year.

The ozone layer is important to protect the Earth from ultraviolet radiation. The hole is not expected to return to the early 1980’s size until around 2065.

The ozone concentration levels were at the highest in 20 years. The ozone concentration was 124 DU (Dobson units) on October 1, 2012. The typical range for the concentration when the ozone hole is not there is between 240-500 DU.

Matt DeLand, chief research scientist for Science Systems and Applications, Inc., said that despite the shrinking Antarctic ozone hole and an overall improvement in the ozone layer, the Arctic has still been changing. He cautions that the ozone layer is still a concern.

By: Julie Marcus
Science and Technology Writer

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