Ozone Hole Won’t Heal Until 2070, NASA Finds
The banning of ozone-depleting chemicals hasn’t yet caused detectable improvements in the Antarctic ozone hole, new research suggests.
Instead, changes in the South Pole’s ozone hole from year-to-year are likely the result of natural variations in wind patterns, researchers said here Wednesday (Dec. 11) in a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
"Ozone is produced in the tropics, but it’s transported by the winds from the tropics to the polar region," said Anne Douglass, a scientist with the Aura project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. That transport “varies a little bit from year to year.”
The findings suggest that measuring the total size of the ozone hole says little about ozone depletion, and that it’s misleading to use the hole’s extent alone to measure environmental progress. In fact, people won’t be able to see the true impact of reducing ozone-munching chemicals in the atmosphere until around 2025, Douglass and her colleagues said. And, they added, the hole won’t be completely healed until 2070.