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Record-size ozone hole over Arctic now closed

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Today is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

In a tweet, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, World Ozone Day is observed to create awareness related to climate change and ozone depletion. He asked people to look for ozone-friendly, HCFC free, energy-efficient appliances to minimize the Ozone layer impact.

An “unprecedented” ozone depletion in the northern hemisphere has healed, but unlikely due to the impacts of worldwide corona virus lockdowns, scientists say. The hole had been about three times the size of Greenland.

A “record-level” ozone hole over the Arctic – the biggest since 2011 – has now closed, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday.

The phenomenon was driven by ozone-depleting substances still in the atmosphere and a very cold winter in the stratosphere — the layer of the earth’s atmosphere that lies between 10 and 50 kilometers (six to 31 miles)  above the earth — Reuters cited WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis saying at a UN briefing in Geneva.

“These two factors combined to give a very high level of depletion which was worse than the one we saw in 2011. It’s now back to normal again … the ozone hole has closed,” she said.

Scientists monitoring the hole at the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS), a European Union earth observation program, announced the closure last week.

‘Unrelated to COVID’

Despite corona virus lockdowns resulting in a significant reduction in air pollution, Nullius said the occurrence of the hole healing “was completely unrelated to COVID.”

CAMS also announced that the phenomenon probably had nothing to do with the pandemic.

“Actually, COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this,” CAMS tweeted. “It’s been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn’t related to air quality changes.”

Ten times the size of Greenland

A German scientist had detected the depletion only a month ago in what he said was the biggest hole in the ozone layer above the North Pole.

“In the areas where the thickness of the ozone layer is at its maximum, the loss is around 90%,” the German press agency dap quoted Markus Rex — head of the department for atmospheric physics at the German Alfred-Wegener Institute — in March. It’s equivalent to an area three times the size of Greenland.



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