Scientists call an anomaly ozone hole over the Arctic

The depleted area over the North Pole seat a record for ozone depletion in the Northern Hemisphere, however, scientists announced last week that the "rather unusual" hole was caused not by human activity but a particularly strong Arctic polar vortex, according to CTV News Canada, quoting the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). The discovery had come as a piece of good news during these stressful coronavirus times.

The largest ozone hole ever documented above the North Pole has closed nearly as quickly as it formed.

The ozone layer protects the Earth from the sun's ultra-violet rays which are a major reason for skin cancer.

The record-breaking hole would only have posed a direct threat to humans if it had of moved further south to populated areas.

Unlike the hole that developed over the Arctic, the Antarctic ozone hole in the southern hemisphere is typically caused by chemicals such as chlorine and bromine that migrate to the stratosphere.

Those winds, known as a polar vortex, created a circular cage of cold air that led to the formation of high-altitude clouds in the region.

A polar vortex is a big space of low strain and chilly air that surrounds each of Earth's poles, according to the National Weather Service.

Currently, the ozone hole above Antarctica is the size of North America, which sounds huge.

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The ozone layer is located between 9 and 22 miles above Earth.

The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole spurred a global effort to reduce the use of harmful chemicals that contribute to openness.

Arctic ozone holes aren't that unusual at all.

Man-made chemicals in the atmosphere are known to cause ozone holes in some cases. "From my point of view, this is the first time you can speak about a real ozone hole in the Arctic", Martin Dameris, an atmospheric scientist at the German Aerospace Center, told Nature.

CAMS also mentioned that it would continue to monitor the region to see the progress of how the ozone layer after "healing itself" mixes with the stratosphere. This year the polar vortex was extremely powerful and temperatures inside it had been very cold.

While the winter months may have helped drive the polar vortex to unusually low temperatures, the team hole's dissipation has been driven by what researchers decribe as a "heat wave" with temperatures as much as 36 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than usual.

Furthermore, they consider that "what happened should not have any effect on the northern summer and neither does it allow us to say much about how the summer will be".

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