Remember The Massive Ozone-Layer Hole Last Month? It’s Already Closed.
In this image, from September 2006, the Antarctic ozone hole was equal to the record single-day largest area of 11.4 million square miles (29.5 million square kilometres), reached on Sept. 9, 2000.
Universal History Archive/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It was just two weeks ago when media outlets were nearly going apoplectic over the discovery of the “biggest hole” in the ozone layer over the North Pole. A week later, however, it appears that giant hole is already closed.

When the hole was first discovered, CNN explained that, “holes in the ozone layer are reported every year in the Antarctic, where temperatures are much colder, no sizable holes in the ozone layer have been recorded in the Arctic since 2011.” The outlet quoted Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, as saying, “The ozone has been, in this layer, almost completely depleted.”

But now, just two weeks later, CNN is reporting that the hole “has closed.” Further, the hole wasn’t caused by human activity – but a really strong polar vortex.

Copernicus’ Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) announced that the hole had closed last week, and further stated on Twitter that the coronavirus shutdown had nothing to do with the closure.

“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.”

More from CNN:

The ozone layer sits between 9 and 22 miles above the Earth. It protects us from ultraviolet radiation.

Unlike the hole that developed over the Arctic, the Antarctic ozone hole in the Southern Hemisphere is typically caused by chemicals such as chlorine and bromine migrating into the stratosphere. This has caused an ozone hole to develop in the Antarctic annually for the last 35 years.

There has been good news there, too: last year, the Antarctic ozone hole was at its smallest since it was first discovered.

CAMS does not predict the ozone numbers will return to the extremely low levels experienced in early April, offering some hope in these bleak times: the ozone layer is slowly healing, one way or another.

As The Weather Channel reported, the last time such a large hole in the ozone layer was discovered was back in 2011.

“According to the Atmosphere Monitoring Services, this year’s depletion of the ozone layer over the Arctic was very high, as compared to previous years. The observation data from satellites revealed that the ozone layer over the Arctic is severely depleted at altitudes of around 18 km. The last time such strong depletion was observed over the Arctic was during spring of 2011. The rate of depletion this year was slated to get much worse, as per the scientists. Therefore, the closure of this hole has brought some relief to the scientific community,” the outlet reported.

The Weather Channel also reported that the large hole in the ozone layer could have threatened humans if it grew larger and extended south, which obviously didn’t happen because the hole closed.

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