It’s crazy to think that the ozone layer, the protective shield that sits between nine and 22 miles above the Earth’s surface, is what keeps us safe from the sun’s rays which would probably nuke us all otherwise. Because of its importance, scientists were worried when they discovered a massive tear in the ozone layer over the Arctic. Thankfully, the hole has now closed.
The unprecedented 2020 northern hemisphere #OzoneHole has come to an end. The #PolarVortex split, allowing #ozone-rich air into the Arctic, closely matching last week's forecast from the #CopernicusAtmosphere Monitoring Service.
— Copernicus ECMWF (@CopernicusECMWF) April 23, 2020
- While the tear was “unusual,” it wasn’t man-made. The tear in the ozone layer was being tracked by Copernicus’ Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) since it appeared earlier this year. Some thought it formed because of human action, in reality, it was likely due to a strong and “long-lived” polar vortex.
- CAMS announced last week that the hole had closed. Taking to Twitter on April 23, CAMS wrote, “The unprecedented 2020 northern hemisphere #OzoneHole has come to an end. The #PolarVortex split, allowing #ozone-rich air into the Arctic, closely matching last week’s forecast from the #CopernicusAtmosphere Monitoring Service. That’s great news!
- Humans had nothing to do with the ozone layer healing. Because it wasn’t caused by humans, chances are we had no effect on it. “COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this. It’s been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn’t related to air quality changes,” CAMS explained. However, it does seem pretty coincidental that the tear closed now that many countries around the world are under lockdown and the amount of traffic, manufacturing, and other environmental pollutants have gone WAY down. Just sayin’!
- Sadly, the ozone layer tear over Antarctica is caused by humans. Pollutant chemicals like chlorine and bromine have made it so that a hole forms over Antarctica every year and has for the last 35 years. Luckily, last year showed the smallest hole in recorded history there, so there may be hope for protecting the environment yet.