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The ozone hole decreases in size in 2022, NASA shows its size

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ozone hole
The ozone hole continues to shrink in 2022. | Photo: NASA.

The ozone hole over the South Pole decreased in size during 2022, being slightly smaller than last year, unveiled the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The antarctic ozone hole annually reached an average area of ​​23.2 million square kilometers between September 7 and October 13, 2022, which means that was slightly smaller relative to 2021; in addition to the fact that, in general, the downward trend of recent years continued.

Size and shape of the ozone hole over the South Pole, October 2022. / NASA.

“Over time, steady progress is being made and the hole is getting smallersaid Paul Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland.

NASA and NOAA researchers detect and measure the growth and rupture of the ozone hole with instruments on board the Aura, Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellites. On October 5, 2022, those satellites observed a ozone hole single-day maximum of 10.2 million square miles (26.4 million square kilometers), slightly larger than last year.

However, despite the hesitations as climate changes and other factors cause the numbers to move slightly, NASA is optimistic that “we see it declining.” [el agujero de ozono] in the last two decades. The removal of substances that deplete ozone layer through the Montreal Protocol it’s narrowing the hole.”

The reduction of the ozone hole It even happened with the January 2022 eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which scientists were concerned about, because in 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo released substantial amounts of sulfur dioxide that amplified the depletion of the ozone layer. However, no direct hits from Hunga Tonga have been detected in the Antarctic stratospheric data.

What is the ozone layer?

The ozone layer is the portion of the stratosphere that protects our planet from the Sun’s ultraviolet rays, thins to form a “ozone hole” over the South Pole every September. Chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine in the atmosphere, derived from human-produced compounds, stick to high-altitude polar clouds each southern winter. The reactive chlorine and bromine then initiate reactions that destroy the ozone when the Sun rises at the end of the Antarctic winter.

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