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This year’s giant Antarctic ozone hole probably due to climate change


The 2021 ozone hole over Antarctica is among the 25% largest in recorded history. (Image credit: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, ECMWF.)

A giant ozone hole has opened up over Antarctica this year. Already larger than the entire ice-covered continent, the ozone hole has surpassed the size of 75% of ozone holes measured since 1979 and is still growing. Scientists believe climate change might be the cause.

The Montreal Protocol , signed in 1987, is frequently described as the world’s great success story in battling human-caused destruction of the environment. The agreement banned harmful chlorofluorocarbons and other substances known to destroy the protective ozone layer, which absorbs damaging ultraviolet UV radiation coming from the sun . The concentrations of the damaging substances in the atmosphere have leveled off since the protocol came into force and are slowly decreasing, providing the foundation for the layer’s gradual healing. But worsening climate change is now slowing down the recovery.

“It’s still a matter of research to fully understand the connection between the ozone recovery and climate change, but we know that there is a coupling between ozone depletion and temperature,” Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service , which released […]

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