2012 Antarctic Ozone Hole Update

NASA and NOAA announced today that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica reached its annual maximum size on Sept. 22. Highlights include:

  • The Antarctic ozone hole reached its annual maximum size on Sept. 22, covering 8.2 million square miles — the area of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.
  • That’s smaller than the record maximum of 11.5 million square miles reached on Sept. 6, 2000, and also smaller than last year’s maximum size of 10.1 million square miles.
  • Scientists attribute the smaller ozone hole in 2012 to warmer temperatures in the Antarctic lower stratosphere.

“The ozone hole mainly is caused by chlorine from human-produced chemicals, and these chlorine levels are still sizable in the Antarctic stratosphere,” said NASA atmospheric scientist Paul Newman of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Natural fluctuations in weather patterns resulted in warmer stratospheric temperatures this year. These temperatures led to a smaller ozone hole.”

Read the full story here. Also read about theĀ history of the ozone hole and its path toward recovery, and thenĀ check out the satellite-based image that in 1985 revealed for the first time the size and magnitude of the ozone hole. Finally, visit NASA’s Ozone Hole Watch to follow the state of the Antarctic ozone hole throughout the year.

2 thoughts on “2012 Antarctic Ozone Hole Update”

  1. There is evidence to suggest you are wrong to assume that only man made chlorine sources are involved.

    Not all causes of ozone depletion are from man made chemicals.

    Nature makes major contributions now and then too, from space, and from volcanic sources.

    The waning magnetic field, cosmic rays, and naturally occurring chlorine and CFC precursors may play a much larger role than you assume in ozone depletion.

    Please consider that the science is not settled on most issues relating to atmospheric chemistry and climate, and I’d suggest a less definitive tone to reserve room for eventual future discoveries.





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