Scientists have discovered that the area above the North Pole is equivalent to three ozone holes in Greenland.
According to a report by the American’s Fun Science website on April 11, ozone holes appear every year over Antarctica. The ozone hole above the Arctic is much rarer.
Scientists at the European Space Agency said in a statement that the ozone hole is about three times the size of Greenland. If its area is increased a lot, it may expose people living in extremely high latitudes in northern latitudes to high-intensity ultraviolet radiation. Researchers at the European Space Agency say that fortunately, the hole may appear to close on its own in the coming weeks.
Due to seasonal changes in cloud cover, the ozone layer above Antarctica forms holes every year. However, the ozone hole over the Arctic is relatively rare. The researchers said that the last time the ozone hole appeared in the sky over the Arctic was in 2011, and that hole was much smaller than this time.
Atmospheric scientist Martin Dameris of the German Aerospace Center told the British “Nature” weekly: “I think this is the first real ozone hole appearing over the Arctic.”
Due to low temperature and anthropogenic pollution, the Antarctic will form ozone hole every year. When the Antarctic winter begins, the temperature drops sharply, and high-level clouds will form over the Antarctic. Industrial chemical pollutants, including chlorine and bromine, trigger reactions in these clouds, which in turn attack the surrounding ozone.
Researchers say that the Arctic, where temperature fluctuations are greater, does not usually have the same ozone depletion conditions. But this year, strong winds trapped cold air in a “polar vortex” over the North Pole. This resulted in lower temperatures and more high-level clouds than usual. The Arctic then began to experience ozone depletion.
The researchers said that fortunately, as the sun’s height above the North Pole slowly increased, the temperature has begun to rise, which means that the conditions that contribute to the ozone hole should change soon. However, if the hole continues to expand southward, residents near the Arctic Circle may need to apply sunscreen to prevent damage from ultraviolet rays.