Ultraviolet blast! Ozone hole over South Pole is larger than Antarctica and is the biggest since 1979 – Disastrous effects for human health, food production, ocean life!

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ozone hole is larger than antarctica
This year, the ozone hole over the southern hemisphere is larger than Antarctica. Picture via Copernicus

This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole is larger than Antarctica and is the biggest since 1979.

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and its scientists have been closely monitoring the development of this year’s ozone hole over the South Pole, which has now reached a greater extent than Antarctica.

After a fairly standard start, the 2021 ozone hole has grown considerably in the past two weeks and is now bigger than 75 % of ozone holes at this stage of the season since 1979.

As scientists report: “This year, the ozone hole developed as expected at the start of the season. It seems pretty similar to last year’s, which also wasn’t really exceptional until early September, but then turned into one of the largest and longest-lasting ozone holes in our data record later in the season.

Now our forecasts show that this year´s hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one. The vortex is quite stable and the stratospheric temperatures are even lower than last year, so it may continue to grow slightly over the next two or three weeks.

ozone hole is larger than antarctica
Each year as the Southern Hemisphere heads into spring, human-made chemicals break down ozone over the Antarctic, causing the ozone layer to become much thinner. Picture via Copernicus

Why is atmospheric ozone important?

Atmospheric ozone absorbs and protects us from ultraviolet light coming from the sun. Reduced ozone levels as a result of ozone depletion mean less protection from the sun’s rays and more exposure to UVB radiation at the Earth’s surface. Studies have shown that in the Antarctic, the amount of UVB measured at the surface can double during the annual ozone hole.

Effects on Human Health

Ozone layer depletion increases the amount of UVB that reaches the Earth’s surface. Laboratory and epidemiological studies demonstrate that UVB causes non-melanoma skin cancer and plays a major role in malignant melanoma development. In addition, UVB has been linked to the development of cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens.

Because all sunlight contains some UVB, even with normal stratospheric ozone levels, it is always important to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.

Effects on Plants

UVB radiation affects the physiological and developmental processes of plants. Despite mechanisms to reduce or repair these effects and an ability to adapt to increased levels of UVB, plant growth can be directly affected by UVB radiation.

Indirect changes caused by UVB (such as changes in plant form, how nutrients are distributed within the plant, timing of developmental phases and secondary metabolism) may be equally or sometimes more important than damaging effects of UVB. These changes can have important implications for plant competitive balance, herbivory, plant diseases, and biogeochemical cycles.

Effects on Marine Ecosystems

Phytoplankton form the foundation of aquatic food webs. Phytoplankton productivity is limited to the euphotic zone, the upper layer of the water column in which there is sufficient sunlight to support net productivity. Exposure to solar UVB radiation has been shown to affect both orientation and motility in phytoplankton, resulting in reduced survival rates for these organisms. Scientists have demonstrated a direct reduction in phytoplankton production due to ozone depletion-related increases in UVB.

UVB radiation has been found to cause damage to early developmental stages of fish, shrimp, crab, amphibians, and other marine animals. The most severe effects are decreased reproductive capacity and impaired larval development. Small increases in UVB exposure could result in population reductions for small marine organisms with implications for the whole marine food chain.

Effects on Biogeochemical Cycles

Increases in UVB radiation could affect terrestrial and aquatic biogeochemical cycles, thus altering both sources and sinks of greenhouse and chemically important trace gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbonyl sulfide, ozone, and possibly other gases). These potential changes would contribute to biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks that mitigate or amplify the atmospheric concentrations of these gases.

Ozone depletion occurs yearly

Each year as the Southern Hemisphere approaches spring, artificial chemicals decompose ozone over Antarctica, making the ozone layer much thinner.

Last year’s ozone hole also began irrelevantly, but then it became one of the most lasting recorded in years.

As one of the world’s leading suppliers of ozone monitoring data, CAMS collects a lot of information on air quality, greenhouse gas and climate forcing a wide range of sensors, making this information available for users around the world through their Atmosphere Data Store.

CAMS data captures both ‘good ozone’ that protects Earth from harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV) and ‘bad ozone’ at ground level that can cause respiratory problems. [Copernicus, EPA]

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10 Comments

  1. Massive acceleration in space exploration, layer after layer of microwave technology from satellites positioned above the earth. Rockets piercing our atmosphere and no one doing an impact study, funny that! But of course not, obviously its a given that its heavier than air carbon, sorry , silly me.

  2. a few years ago, the halcyon cern collider showed results producing more than 12 Tev of electricity. A cycle producing similar effects of solar flare hitting the earth upper ionosphere a grap in earth magnetic protection.

  3. for education watch suspicious observers youtube channel and for a better understanding of all things going on in are world today (science wise that is)

  4. The ozone layer at the south pole is directly proportional to the number of sun spots and solar wind.
    The hole was originally discovered in 1956 Freon was first commercially available in 1959 human activity has NO effect on the volume of atmospheric ozone.
    The highly reactive chemical O3 is formed by electrical discharge ionization cosmic rays hitting the ionosphere is primary source. Solar wind distorts the earth’s magnetosphere and increases flux over the south pole ozone is a charged ion and follows the lines of flux. During solar minimums like now the ionic flux is lessened and O3 production is lower. The amount of O3 over the north pole stays pretty stable. During solar flares and CME we get large planetary O3 accumulations that fill the southern hole.

    The popular belief that fluorocarbons react with O3 in sun light was a complete fabrication to justify the elimination of a generic product R12 at the end of it’s patent cycle.
    The correlation of skin cancers and the ozone hole was first a statistical correlation paid for by a marketing company to alter market perception of SUN TAN oil into a SUN CARE as a necessary medical prophylaxis. This allowed 1 company with a patent on transparent sun block 50 to change from regional brand of 5M usd to become a Global Brand of 2B USD from 1985 to 1993.
    I know the later because this was our marketing company who created the perception truth is that hair care and make up products have the greatest effect on skin cancers not UV exposure. Our company took a industry with 16M USD gross annual sales to a 4B USD dollar industry having done the marketing for 148 Sun Care brands and receiving INC 400 and many accolades in the advertising industry.
    The Aussie population was chosen for the statistical studies because the northern European decent has several historical endemic famines and blights to their food source making the natural levels of COIX enzyme highest in that population.
    The US population also has a high percentage of northern Europeans and mass exposure to phenols and flurosalicidic acids in fact 90% bath in a known carcinogen every day.
    Metastatic cancer is caused by the COIX enzyme and simple inhibitors prevent and cure all 9 primary forms of metastatic cancers.
    The hole in the ozone is another trust the science propaganda tool.

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