Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Ozone hole still not shrinking

  • Written by  Olivia Edward
  • Published in Climate
Ozone hole still not shrinking NASA
01 Feb
2014
Declining chlorine levels in the stratosphere haven’t yet led to the recovery of the ozone hole that forms annually over Antarctica, according to two new NASA studies

Satellite monitoring suggests that the size of the hole has essentially stabilised, but according to the studies, which used satellite data to look inside the hole itself, any changes in size observed are being driven by temperature and winds, rather than a reduction in the amount of chlorine in the stratosphere.

Natalya Kramarova of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, mapped ozone concentration within the 2012 hole, which was the second-smallest since the mid-1980s. The map showed that the concentration varied with altitude; winds carried ozone into the upper altitudes in early October, masking the ozone destruction in the lower stratosphere and creating the impression that the ozone hole had improved. ‘Our work shows that the classic metrics based on the total ozone values have limitations – they don’t tell us the whole story,’ she said.

In a separate study, a team led by Susan Strahan, also of NASA Goddard, found that the holes of 2006 and 2011 contained different amounts of ozone-depleting chlorine, despite being the same size. They, too, found that ozone levels were affected by meteorological effects.

‘We’re still in the period where small changes in chlorine don’t affect the area of the ozone hole, which is why it’s too soon to say the ozone hole is recovering,’ Strahan said.

This story was published in the February 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Wildlife

Invasive species are considered one of the greatest threats to…

Nature

Professor Steve Fletcher, director of the Global Plastics Policy Centre…

Wildlife

The international conservation agreement CITES is nearly half a century old.…

Wildlife

With Scotland’s salmon under threat, environmental groups are planting trees…

Oceans

As coastal development continues to grow, research begins to reveal the…

Wildlife

Research into rhesus macaques on a remote island finds that survivors of…

Climate

 The release of the latest IPCC report suggests it's 'now…

Wildlife

A new technique to collect animal DNA from thin air could…

Wildlife

As animal species decline, plants that rely on them to…

Nature

Calls to make ecocide a crime are gaining ground

Wildlife

In South Africa, a new wave of poaching has taken…

Tectonics

A volcanologist unpicks the devastating eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai

Oceans

Some areas of the ocean are richer in microplastics than…

Oceans

The ocean floor is home to rich deposits of metals…

Climate

The industry will only keep growing. Could algae help to…

Nature

A monumental effort is underway to map the world’s fungal…

Geophoto

In his project Black Dots, Nicholas JR White set out upon the…

Wildlife

China’s Amur tiger population is recovering, reflecting the country’s changing…

Climate

Scientists are pushing back against the notion that the food…

Geophoto

Xavi Bou's artistic visions of flight beguile the eye