From MSNBC: WELLINGTON, New Zealand — International efforts to phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substances may be paying off, according to research revealed Friday by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand.
The Antarctica ozone hole is the smallest it has been in the past five years, NIWA said.
While a one-year reduction in the ozone hole can’t indicate a recovery stage, NIWA’s atmospheric experts say the new information adds to a pattern of less severe ozone holes in recent years.
Satellite data combined with ground-base measurements, including the Antarctica New Zealand Arrival Heights observatory near Scott Base, show the hole reached a maximum area of about 22 million square kilometers (about 8.5 million square miles) and a 27 million ton deficit of ozone this year, compared with 24 million square kilometers (about 9.3 million square miles) and a 35 million ton deficit last year.
The largest hole, according to NIWA, was 29 million square kilometers (about 11.2 million square miles) and a 43 million ton deficit, recorded in 2000 and then repeated in 2006.
“We see a lot of year-to-year variation in ozone holes, caused by differences in atmospheric temperature and circulation,” said NIWA atmospheric scientist Stephen Wood in a prepared statement. “So we can’t definitively say the ozone hole is improving from one new year of observations.”
“However, we have now had a few years in succession with less severe holes,” Wood said. “That is an indication we may be beginning to see a recovery.”
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