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Earth's Ozone Hole Shrivels to Smallest Since 1988

Visualization of the formation and evolution of the Antarctic Vortex ozone hole over the South Pole from Sept. 1 to Dec. 4, 2014, created using data from NASA Aqua spacecraft. Visualization of the formation and evolution of the Antarctic Vortex ozone hole over the South Pole from Sept. 1 to Dec. 4, 2014, created using data from NASA Aqua spacecraft. |  Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
November 03, 2017 10:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - NASA says the ozone hole over Antarctica shrank to its smallest peak since 1988.

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The huge hole in Earth's protective ozone layer reached its maximum in September, and this year NASA says it was 7.6 million square miles wide.

NASA scientist Paul Newman says stormy conditions in the upper atmosphere warmed the air and kept chemicals chlorine and bromine from eating ozone.

Newman says this is good news. He says this year's drop is mostly natural but is on top of a trend of smaller steady improvements likely from the banning of ozone-eating chemicals in a 1987 international treaty.

Ozone is a combination of three oxygen atoms. High in the atmosphere, ozone shields Earth from ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.


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SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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