Arctic ozone layer hole expanded largely in March 2011, scientists revealed

By on Oct 3, 2011 in Environment, Europe, Science, United States, World Comments

The Arctic ozone layer hole has reportedly expanded largely for the first time in observational record and now comparably the same with the ozone hole in the Antarctic region.


Chart of Artic ozone layer level, (left) March 2010
and (right) March 2011 (Click Image To Enlarge)

Image Credit: OMI/Aura/NASA

The ozone layer acts like a giant shield that protects life on Earth against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is harmful and can lead to cataracts, skin cancer, among others.

The said unprecedented Arctic ozone loss was observed by scientists in March 2011 and has spread over some parts of northern Russia, Greenland and Norway, and was compared to data of March 2010.

As noted by NASA on its official website on Sunday, October 2, 2011, researchers noted that the sudden appearance of the ozone hole in the Arctic zone was not due to man-made causes.

Apparently, scientists were said to have noticed that at some altitudes, the cold period in the Arctic lasted more than 30 days longer this year than in any previously studied Arctic winter, which was notably unusual.

The study, which was led Gloria Manney of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was published online in the journal Nature, also on the same day.

“The difference from previous winters is that temperatures were low enough to produce ozone-destroying forms of chlorine for a much longer time.” Gloria Manney was quoted by NASA.

“This implies that if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures drop just slightly in the future, for example as a result of climate change, then severe Arctic ozone loss may occur more frequently.” Manney added.

The biggest Arctic ozone loss reportedly exceeded 80 per cent, or between 18 and 20 kilometers (11.25 and 12.5 miles) altitude, and is now being studied by scientists from 19 institutions in nine countries.

This includes the United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Japan and Spain, where comprehensive set of measurements is being analyzed regularly.

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