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Science News: Ozone hole shrinks to smallest size

– G.A., Senior Editor

At the end of October 2019, scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer over the southern pole had shrunk to the smallest size observed since 1982.

The size of the ozone hole is monitored by satellites and researchers on the ground launch weather balloons to measure the concentrations of ozone at various levels in the atmosphere. In addition to the smaller size of the hole that was observed from space, researchers were unable to find any areas that were completely devoid of ozone.

While ozone researchers are quick to point out that this reduction in size was affected by warmer atmospheric conditions over the southern pole, it is important to note that it would not have been possible for the hole to reach this small of a size without the measures that were taken to reduce the output of ozone-damaging chemicals.

We are certainly not at a point at which we can claim that the threat to Earth’s ozone layer is over. However, this observation demonstrates the positive outcomes that can be achieved through global cooperation. If similar efforts can be made to address other environmental issues, we may be able to ensure a healthy and habitable environment for generations to come.

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