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Large Hole in the Arctic Ozone Layer Is Now Closed

In a victory for the planet, a large hole in the ozone layer has closed up on its own. Located over the Arctic, it first formed in mid to late March and was one of the largest ozone holes the area had ever seen. As the ozone is responsible for absorbing the sun’s UV rays, its health is of the utmost importance to our planet. That’s what makes the hole’s closure such a relief.

To be clear, the hole’s appearance and repair were not caused by human activity. Scientists from Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), who have been monitoring the area, attribute the ozone hole to something more natural. A large low-pressure area made from swirling cold air—known as a polar vortex—was particularly strong for several weeks in March. This caused cold air to remain trapped in the North Pole, the by-product of which was the formation of high altitude clouds that cause chemical reactions to stimulate ozone depletion once sunlight returns.

So, now that the polar vortex is starting to break down, the air between the ozone-depleted and ozone-rich layers are mixing once again. This has caused the hole to heal itself as ozone levels begin to rise once again. This is great news, as the Arctic doesn’t typically have as much ozone depletion as the Antarctic ozone layer. It’s this area that most people are familiar with, as the 1985 discovery of a hole over the South Pole caused big changes in aerosols and refrigerants.

Interestingly, there’s also good news about this ozone hole. Thanks in good part to measures taken as part of the Montreal Protocol, a 1987 accord that phased out manmade chemicals harming the ozone, the Antarctic ozone hole is shrinking. These changes, coupled with variations in the Southern Hemisphere’s air patterns, have contributed to the slow closing of the hole.

In a win for the planet, an ozone hole over the Arctic has now closed.

h/t: [IFL Science!]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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