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South Pole's Ozone Hole Shrinks to Smallest Since Discovery

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
Created: October 22, 2019 11:10 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - NASA reports the ozone hole near the south pole this year is the smallest since it was discovered in 1985.
    
Scientists say this is due more to freakishly warm Antarctic weather than the decades long effort to reduce the use of chlorinated chemicals that cause the seasonal gap. Earth's protective ozone layer shields life from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
    
Chlorine in the air needs cold temperatures in the stratosphere to convert into a form of the chemical that eats ozone.
    
This fall, the average hole in the ozone layer is 3.6 million square miles (9.3 million square kilometers). That's down from a peak of 10 million square miles (25.9 million square kilometers) in 1998. This year's hole is even smaller than the one first discovered in 1985.
 

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SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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