The Large Hole over the South Pole is Earth’s Ozone

The+ozone+layer+sits+9+to+22+miles+above+our+Earth+and+protects+us+all+from+ultraviolet+rays+coming+from+the+Sun.+Without+it%2C+we+are+toast%2C+literally.

Graphic by Jonathon Carmona

The ozone layer sits 9 to 22 miles above our Earth and protects us all from ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun. Without it, we are toast, literally.

There is a hole in Earth’s Ozone layer, larger than Antarctica, over the South Pole and it is not getting smaller. 

The Hole of Depletion

During the Southern hemisphere’s Springtime, which is from Aug – Oct, the ozone depletion forms a hole over the South Pole. This hole grows to its largest size from mid-Sept – mid-Oct. This year’s hole is 75 percent bigger than the previous years’ starting from 1979. 

The European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service scientists have been observing Earth’s atmosphere by utilizing computer modeling and satellite observations. 

“Now our forecasts show that this year’s hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one“, said in a statement by Vincent-Henri Peuch, Copernicus director.

Cause and Faults

Ozone depletion can be contributed to chemicals like chlorine and gases in aerosol spray cans (halons) being released into the atmosphere. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons reaching the atmosphere causes chemical reactions that will result in ozone molecules breaking down.  This allows for ultraviolet radiation to spear through with no defense.

First signed in 1987, the Montreal Protocol regulated CFCs and halons in hopes to reverse their effects on our ozone. By regulating the production and consumption of CFCs and halons, our ozone can begin to slowly recover. 

Copernicus says the ozone layer would still not fully recover until the 2060s or 2070s.  Some of the harmful chemicals can be stuck in the stratosphere for decades making the recovery process a slow grind. If CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals had not been regulated, global climate change would have had a much greater effect. 

According to a study published by Nature journal, the Earth would have been on course for an additional 2.5 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures and a full collapse of the ozone layer. Elon Musk would have had to start thinking about Mars a lot sooner. 

A Message to Ourselves

Discovering how harmful humans can be towards our Earth has been key to keeping our planet healthy. The Montreal Protocol is a great example of coming together as a species to reduce our effect in hurting the planet. 

When companies or the rich population take the initiative to reduce their carbon footprint, such as how Elon Musk got cryptocurrencies to begin reducing their carbon footprint, as well it becomes a greater scale of help, but it starts with ourselves. 

Each of us plays a role. We can contribute to saving Earth instead of harming it. Start by doing simple things such as recycling, using non-harmful chemicals, and watching what we throw in the ocean. It doesn’t have to be too late before we try to reverse our doings. 

 

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