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Scientists: Tonga Volcano Eruption Caused Ozone Hole in Antarctica


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Tuesday, September 05, 2023 04:07 PM

The ozone hole over Antarctica opened unusually early this year, and scientists believe… Volcanic eruption According to the American website Space, the disaster Honga Tonga that sent shock waves around the world in January 2022 could be the reason for this.

Ozone experts predicted earlier this year that the explosion, which sent 50 million tons (45 million metric tons) of water vapor into the Earth’s atmosphere, would impact the Earth’s protective ozone layer in the years following the explosion.


Water vapor concentrations in the stratosphere, the second lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere where the ozone layer is located, increased by 10% as a result of the undersea volcanic eruption.

This, according to Paul Newman, senior scientist for atmospheric sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has led to “significant cooling” in the stratosphere, which is bad news for ozone levels.

New data from the European environmental monitoring agency Copernicus suggests that the predictions may be correct and that ozone concentrations in Antarctica dropped to record lows in early July.

Copernicus said in a statement that in the 43 years since the beginning of scientific measurements, the initial onset of the destruction of the ozone layer has been recorded only about a dozen times.

The data indicates that the size of the ozone hole in August 2023 is the tenth largest on record. The crater is currently 6 million square miles (16 million square kilometers) in size.

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It continues to grow until the end of September when Antarctica begins to warm as spring turns, and it takes until the end of November for the hole to close, but it can last longer than that.

Stratospheric cooling resulting from an increase in the concentration of water vapor in the stratosphere leads to the frequent formation of polar stratospheric clouds, and scientists believe that these strange iridescent clouds that form at altitudes of 9 to 15 miles (15 to 25 kilometers) provide the perfect chemical environment. Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in the stratosphere to do its destructive work.

Although most of these substances, such as CFCs and HFCs previously used in aerosol sprays and refrigerators, are banned under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, their natural degradation takes decades and their concentrations in the atmosphere are high.

Vincent-Henri Butch, director of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS), said in a statement that while researchers cannot say for sure whether Honga Tonga is responsible for this year’s above-average ozone depletion, they hope to find more measurements. coming months.

“Our ability to provide 3D analysis and forecasts of ozone at the poles is a powerful way to monitor how ozone holes develop in real time and assess the key drivers behind the observed ones,” Beutsch said.

“It provides insight into how certain events, such as last year’s Hanga Tonga-Hunga Hapai volcanic eruption, will affect the growth of the Antarctic ozone hole this year, which increased the amount of water vapor in the stratosphere.

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Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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