April 18, 2021

Scientists Announce That Largest Arctic Ozone Hole Ever Recorded Has Closed Itself Due To A Change In The Polar Vortex

With so many negative news hearing every day on the news regarding the pandemic situation, some good news is exactly what we need right now and scientists have just reported something very exciting.

The largest Arctic Ozone hole ever recorded has closed itself, due to a change in the polar vortex. Scientists with Copernicus’ Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS), who track and monitor the ozone layer and the changing climate, say that the massive hole, which formed earlier this year, has closed.

The ozone layer, which acts as a layer of protection for the Earth similar to that of humans putting on sunscreen, has been under threat for decades from human emissions of chemicals including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

As seen in the pictures provided by NASA Ozone Watch, a large hole in the ozone layer stretches wide over the top of the northern hemisphere. Luckily, it only took around a month for the data to show that the hole has now closed up. Why? Well, at first it might seem that COVID-19 which forced people as well as businesses to halt their normal lives is the most likely cause, as a trend of pollution levels dropping in Italy was observed back in March. However, that’s not the case here.

More info: CAMS

The photo below showcases the ozone layer at the beginning of March

Image credits: NASA

A strong polar vortex was observed for several weeks in March and it caused cold air to remain trapped in the North Pole which in turn produced high altitude clouds where chemical reactions stimulated the depletion of the ozone layer when exposed to sunlight.

Now that the polar vortex is starting to die down, the ozone values are slowly returning to normal hence the recent photos showing the disappearance of the hole.

It seems like the gaping hole reached its peak on March 26

Image credits: NASA

A month later, on April 26, the picture provided by NASA shows that the hole is now closed

While air and water quality around the world has improved due to COVID19-related lockdowns, CAMS says the hole closing over the North Pole is likely unrelated.

“COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this,” the group said on Twitter.

CAMS also said it does not expect the same occurrence to happen next year.

The Arctic polar vortex sits over the North Pole, frequently expanding south during the winter impacting the United States and typically weakening in warmer months.

Copernicus ECMWF used their Twitter account to provide some additional information on the matter

 

Image credits: CopernicusECMWF

Image credits: CopernicusECMWF

Image credits: CopernicusECMWF

Image credits: CopernicusECMWF

Even though the ozone layer hole did not close because of the worldwide lockdown, it’s evident that nature was impacted

Image credits: Marco Capovilla

Like jellyfish being spotted in Venice earlier this month

Image credits: Andrea Mangoni

Or animals roaming in the streets after people locked themselves in their homes

Image credits: okadennis

Image credits: clicktosave