A new gap has opened up within the ozone layer — however, it’s not the place scientists would look forward to finding it. The massive gap has been noticed within the Arctic, on the opposite facet of the planet from the notorious gap that types annually above Antarctica.
Scientists from the European Space Agency mentioned this week that this uncommon gap is the most important of its variety ever recorded over the planet’s northern hemisphere. It covers a space about 3 times the dimensions of Greenland, in response to the journal Nature.
“From my standpoint, that is the primary time you may talk about an actual ozone gap within the Arctic,” Martin Dameris, an atmospheric scientist on the German Aerospace Middle in Oberpfaffenhofen instructed Nature.
Earth’s atmospheric ozone layer acts as a protecting barrier between the solar’s dangerous rays and the Earth’s floor. Human-made chemical substances known as chlorofluorocarbons have been destroying the layer for the previous century, inflicting thinning, and finally, the huge gap that fashioned in Antarctica within the 1980s.
Consultants level to “uncommon atmospheric circumstances” as the reason for the huge gap, together with freezing temperatures that deliver excessive-altitude clouds collectively. Industrial chemical compounds work together with these clouds to eat away on the ozone layer.
Whereas temperatures constantly plummet within the South Pole annually, these situations are uncommon within the North, making ozone depletion a lot much less widespread.
In keeping with Markus Rex, an atmospheric scientist on the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany, highly effective winds created a polar vortex this 12 months, inflicting extra chilly air above the Arctic than in any winter recorded since 1979. Decrease temperatures imply excessive-altitude clouds — and the destruction of the ozone.