Ozone Danger

Ozone Danger

Daisy Popick, Editor in Chief

The world’s ozone layer is one of the most important environmental aspects of the world. It helps shield the earth and the population from ultraviolet radiation, and it’s common knowledge that it has been depleting since the 1970s’. Recently, scientists have discovered that the largest hole in the ozone layer located in the arctic, has closed as of April 23. The conclusion that everyone would jump to straight away is that this is a reaction from the COVID-19 quarantine, but researchers said that this pandemic likely has nothing to do with the closure has nothing to do with the air quality either, so the question here is what seemed to be the cause of the closure?

Researchers said that while ozone depletion happens frequently in the south pole, it doesn’t often happen in the north pole where the arctic is located. The last time ozone depletion was present in the arctic was almost a decade ago in 2011, but it was uncomparable to this year’s activity because of the arctic being oddly weak this year for unknown reasons. According to past research, ozone levels are often quite high in the months of March to April, so there shouldn’t have been a reason for there to be such a large weak spot in the layer this ozone breach has the largest recorded hole and is about three times the size as Greenland. 

Reports state that this year’s ozone hole would have been much worse if chlorofluorocarbons, known as CFCs, a man-made chemical that was a product in many aerosols, fire retardants, pesticides, and air coolants in refrigerators and cars, had not been limited as a result of the Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 by 197 countries. The Montreal Protocol was an agreement designed to be able to protect the ozone layer from harmful substances, products, and chemicals and it has done exactly that. This year’s ozone hole in the arctic was caused by a particularly strong polar vortex that occurred this winter which lasted from December of 2019 through February of 2020 and although this odd occurrence worried scientists, there is some good news.

Although the ozone layer in the arctic has closed, the ozone hole in the antarctic is usually the one that’s affecting the world and is being talked about in scientific journals and news reports. This whole usually ranges around 6.3 million square miles, but this year it is at the smallest since it was first discovered. Sophomore Sabrina Popick stated ”I think this should be a topic talked about in the news more, especially because all recent news is about coronavirus. I think it would be good to focus on something better like this to maybe get people out of such a sad mindset that recent events have caused us and looking at something as great as this ozone closing up would make people less uncomfortable with the situation and they might start to look at some of the good things that have come from the quarantine.”

  While this event is not connected to the quarantine, Junior Nicolette Surabian said, “I think that the corona-virus is having a positive effect on our environment and the atmosphere. With the closure of all schools, public events, churches, and the stay at home order in place, our atmosphere has had the chance to clean up and improve thus reversing and hopefully slowing down the effects of climate change that could later cause more events with the ozone layer.”