Record-low ozone levels in the central Arctic span an area about three times the size of Greenland.
At an altitude of 18 kilometers, scientists recorded a drop in ozone concentration of 90%. As Martin Damerias of the German Aerospace Center emphasized, “this is the first time we can talk about a real ozone hole in the Arctic.”
According to experts, ozone holes are more characteristic of the Southern Hemisphere – they regularly form over Antarctica. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is a rather rare occurrence, as the temperature in the region is more variable and usually not suitable for depletion of the ozone layer.
This year there was more cold air over the Arctic than any winter. At low temperatures, high-altitude clouds formed and chemical ozone destruction reactions began.
Scientists have assured that the Arctic ozone hole does not pose a threat to health, because the sun is just beginning to rise above the horizon at high latitudes.
In the coming weeks there is little chance that the hole could shift to lower latitudes – in this case, people may need sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
Due to the fact that the Sun is gradually rising, the air temperature in the ozone hole has already begun to rise. Ozone is expected to begin to recover soon, as the polar vortex decays in the coming weeks.
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