Earlier this spring, scientists recorded the largest ozone hole over the Arctic. This one million square kilometres hole has now healed itself, and the lockdowns in various parts of the world have nothing to do with it. Read on to know how it happened. By Bayar Jain

 

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The Earth’s ozone layer has been subject to expansive consequences of climate change, the largest of which was observed and recorded by scientists earlier this spring. Reportedly spread over one million square kilometres over the Arctic, the same has now closed.

Taking to its Twitter handle to confirm this good news, Copernicus ECMWF – a European satellite monitoring agency says, “Unprecedented 2020 northern hemisphere #OzoneHole has come to an end. The #PolarVortex split, allowing #ozone-rich air into the Arctic, closely matching last week’s forecast from the #CopernicusAtmosphere Monitoring Service.”

 

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As much as we would be tempted to credit the largely global lockdown for this healing, scientists say otherwise. In fact, it is believed that the polar vortex – which are altitudinal currents that bring cold air to the polar regions – is responsible for the healing of the layer. It says that the polar vortex this year has been extremely powerful and temperatures inside it have been very cold. Scientists, however, say it is still too early to attribute this phenomenon to climate change. On the flip side, they ascertain that reduced levels of pollution have not resulted in it.

Polar vortexes are large areas of low pressure and cold air which surround both the Earth’s poles. Although these polar vortexes are perennial, they usually weaken during the summer and strengthen in winter. The polar vortex in the Arctic is typically weaker due to the presence of nearby land and mountain ranges – both of which disturb the weather, especially when compared to its southern counterpart, the Antarctic.

Related: The Earth’s Ozone Layer Shows Improvement Amid Lockdown