Unusual weather patterns within the upper atmosphere over Antarctica have caused a drastic reduction in ozone depletion, leaving the ozone with the smallest hole seen since its discovery in 1982, based on NASA and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
The government agencies mentioned that the opening had shrunk to 3.9 million sq — miles for the remainder of September and October, based on satellite data. The peak within the hole was 6.3 million sq. Miles noticed on Sept. 8. Throughout normal weather conditions, the hole is usually around 8 million sq — miles during this time of year.
The hole over the Antarctic forms throughout the Southern Hemisphere’s late winter because the Sun’s rays begin to cause ozone-depleting reactions. This includes chlorine and bromine from human-made objects being released into the stratosphere, which then destroys the molecules within the ozone.
Although “measurements on the South Pole didn’t show any portions of the atmosphere where ozone was completely depleted,” atmospheric scientist Bryan Johnson at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory mentioned, it isn’t all good news.
That is simply the third time in the past 40 years (September 1998 and 2002 have been the others) where unusual weather methods have restricted ozone depletion, a phenomena researchers are still trying to figure out.
The 1987 Montreal Protocol was enacted after scientists disturbingly discovered a hole within the ozone over Antarctica and Australia in 1985. The United Nations Environment Program authorized it. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said it was “perhaps the single most successful international agreement so far” and it has been widely considered successful, with the ozone continuing to recover every year.
A total of 197 countries, including the U.S. under former President Ronald Reagan, are signatories of the Montreal Protocol.
Experts believe the Antarctic ozone will recover back to levels seen in 1980 around 2070.