The hole in the ozone layer over Antartica was recently the biggest it has ever been, I learned from this Reuters article:
“From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles ,” said Paul Newman of
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington.
If the stratospheric weather conditions had been normal, the ozone hole would be expected to reach a size of about 8.9 million to 9.3 million square miles, about the surface area of North America, NASA said in a statement.
(NASA image top right. More about it here.)
This immediately reminds one of the other story on the hole I mentioned not so long ago. There was good news there, since it was supposed to be stabilizing, as a result of the impressive international coorperation over CFCs, etc. Well, it is not really a contradiction. Later in the current article, they do mention:
Concentrations of ozone-depleting chemicals in the lower atmosphere have been declining since 1995, and scientists estimate the ozone hole will be completely recovered by about 2065
That’s still in line with the “about 60 years” that they mentioned in the previous article. But the numbers above are still rather unsettling….