Record-size ozone hole over the Arctic – the biggest since 2011 — has now closed, the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recently announced.

But scientist say that it is unlikely that the hole, which had been had been about three times the size of Greenland, healed because of the impact of the worldwide coronavirus lockdowns.

Scientists monitoring the hole at the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS), a European Union earth observation programme, said, “Actually, Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this," CAMS tweeted. “It's been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn't related to air quality changes.”

A German scientist had detected the depletion only a month ago in what he said was the biggest hole in the ozone layer above the North Pole, in total an area of 20 million square kilometres, or 10 times the size of Greenland.

Scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) said that they had predicted the hole to heal as temperatures increased, breaking down the Arctic polar vortex and allowing ozone-depleted air to combine with ozone-rich air from lower altitudes.

According to recent data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), ozone levels above the Arctic reached a record low in March.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 9th, 2020

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