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Ozone hole 2070: Beginnings of recovery in 2070, 8.1 million miles in expanse

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The ozone hole can begin healing in 2070, with a new study being discussed this week regarding the beginnings of recovery for our planet's ozone layer becoming available in just under 60 years from now. The massive area above Antarctica, believed to be roughly 8.1 million miles in total expanse, reached its maximum recorded size on a single day this Sept. 16, 2013. Due to the continued “damage” it has received over the years from gases to chemicals, National Geographic News is sharing this Saturday, Dec. 14, that there will be a long road to resurgence ahead.

An on-the-mend ozone hole by 2070 is the date experts studying the Antarctic ozone hole anticipate the mass to begin repairing itself. The huge region in our upper atmosphere exists over Antarctica with overall levels at or below a measured 220 Dobson units (the standard unit through which ozone concentration is determined). Although rarely thought about by the everyday person on a regular basis, this hole is no small rift; its fluctuating size has capped off at 8.1 million miles wide, hinting at its true vastness.

Back in 2012, the even-then widening hole in the ozone layer set above the Antarctic was still relatively small. However, atmospheric specializing scientists say that this is no longer the case, and factors will likely become worse in relation to the ozone layer before healing can begin. In fact, the true beginnings of recovery aren’t expected to actually start until 2070, a date several decades away. It is believed that the sudden shrinkage in size last year was actually due to variable weather changes influencing the expanse.

According to the report, our world’s ozone hole still has decades of fluctuation, waxing and waning before it closes at last, suggests breaking research showcased this week at a American Geophysical Union meeting. Says one of the chief experts conducting the high-reaching study:

“The hole should vanish entirely by 2070 and should start to recover in the next decade,” says one of the lead scientists on the research, Susan Strahan of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
“The size of the ozone hole above Antarctica, a region in the upper atmosphere characterized by very low ozone levels, has peaked in recent years, covering roughly 8.1 million square miles (21 million square kilometers) to 10.4 million sq. mi. (27 million sq. km.)—an area larger than South America.”

Over 20 years ago, the Montreal Protocol initiated a law that would severely limit the use of chemicals that promote ozone depletion. These chemicals were known to have left a serious mar on our Earth’s ozone layer. Yet even since their restriction, these potent chemicals have enduring life spans, expanding up to 100 years, and are still chipping away to thin the upper layers of our atmosphere.

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