Everyone has heard of the Ozone layer, the one thing that stands between us and the harmful UV- Rays of the sun. It is a protective barrier. But because of many reasons be it human-caused or natural occurrences, holes appear in it from time to time. Recently, many of us have heard or read about the “largest Ozone hole is getting healed”. It is true but not because of the obvious reasons i.e. reduced man-caused pollution. Let’s dive in and learn about some true facts of this largest Ozone hole.
First and foremost, this Ozone depletion was NOT caused because of human efforts. It also certainly did not heal because of the lack of it due to the current lockdown. The largest Ozone hole appeared in the Arctic region. It was caused by the Polar vortex. It is a natural phenomenon that happens when there is a drop in the temperature (below -80oC).
What happens during polar vortex?
Polar vortex allows the interaction of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and Ozone. The reaction leads to the appearance of holes in it. Polar vortex generally appears during winters and disappear during summers. In the Arctic region, around February, there was rapid depletion of the Ozone layer that continued in March also.
Diego Loyola, from the German Aerospace Center, comments, “The ozone hole we observe over the Arctic this year has a maximum extension of less than 1 million sq km. This is small compared to the Antarctic hole, which can reach a size of around 20 to 25 million sq km with a normal duration of around 3 to 4 months.”
Effect on population?
The region was exposed to harmful radiations but because of the lack of human habitats around that place, its effect on humans was not much. But the same could not be said about the flora and fauna of that region. Although, the size of this Ozone hole is not much when compared to the Antarctic Ozone hole it has been the largest one to be discovered in the Arctic region till now.
When April arrived, it brought spring air with it, natural warm air, which causes an increase in the temperature. Therefore, the polar vortex’s effect started to decrease.
Diego says, “Since 14 March, the ozone columns over the Arctic have decreased to what is normally considered ‘ozone hole levels,’ which are less than 220 Dobson Units. We expect the hole to close again during mid-April 2020.”
Recently, the scientists concluded that the hole that appeared over the Arctic is fully healed. It is true and it healed naturally. Sadly, the decrease in pollution has nothing to do with this Arctic Ozone hole. Watch this video for better understanding: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJaBJKjYVLc
On the bright side, less pollution has a good effect all over the world. There are other Ozone holes apart from this one, namely, the Antarctic hole. It is caused by human negligence and as the pollution is currently on the decline it appears to have a positive effect on it. Yes, Earth is healing.