Scientists with the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said on October 6 that the 2020 ozone hole had reached its maximum size, and was “one of the larger and deeper” holes of recent years.
The hole had grown to 23 million square kilometers in size, over twice the size of the US. The hole is a consequence of the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, particularly during the 20th century. An international treaty, the Montreal Protocol, was adopted in 1987 to regulate the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made ozone-depleting chemicals.
Since its adoption, the ozone hole has decreased in size. “Since the ban on halocarbons, the ozone layer has slowly been recovering; the data clearly show a trend in decreasing area of the ozone hole,” said C3S.
Speaking to Mashable, Paul Newman, the chief scientist in the Earth Sciences Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said: “[The hole] is not a good thing. It’s going to be with us for many decades.”
However, Newman highlighted the importance of the Montreal Protocol. “If we had done nothing, this would have gotten much worse,” he said. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service via Storyful