An ozone hole that formed over the Arctic this spring and eventually grew into the there has closed, scientists reported.

Scientists who were tracking the hole at made the announcement late last week, noting the "rather unusual" hole was caused not by human activity but a Arctic polar vortex, .

Thus, despite what you may be thinking, its recovery most likely can't be tracked to the due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ope体育"COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this," the . "It's been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex and isn't related to air quality changes."

Ozone hole

Scientists who were tracking an ozone hole at Copernicus' Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) made an announcement that the "rather unusual" hole was caused not by human activity but a particularly strong Arctic polar vortex.

ope体育Still, the hole was massive. Most of the ozone typically found around 11 miles into the stratosphere was depleted, the group said. The last time such a strong chemical ozone depletion was observed in the Arctic occurred nearly a decade ago.

ope体育A polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of Earth's poles, . Polar vortexes always exist, but they typically weaken during the summer and strengthen in the winter. The polar vortex in the Arctic is typically weaker due to the presence of nearby land as well as mountain ranges that disturb the weather more so than its counterpart to the south, CAMS said.

ope体育The ozone layer sits between nine and 22 miles above the Earth. It protects us from ultraviolet radiation.

ope体育Unlike the hole that developed over the Arctic, the Antarctic ozone hole in the Southern Hemisphere is typically caused by chemicals such as chlorine and bromine migrating into the stratosphere. This has caused an ozone hole to develop in the Antarctic annually for the last 35 years.

ope体育There has been good news there, too: Last year, the Antarctic ozone hole was at its smallest since it was first discovered.

CAMS does not predict the ozone numbers will return to the extremely low levels experienced in early April, offering in these bleak times: The ozone layer is slowly healing, one way or another.

Photos: Scenes from the Arctic


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