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Ozone Hole Almost Closed, Now Record Size

A year ago, we wrote that the ozone hole over the Antarctic was finally closing. Now "the growth at the moment is similar to 2000 when the hole was a record size," says Australian scientist Andrew Klekociuk. At that time the hole explanded to 10.9 million square miles, which is three times the size of Australia or the U.S. Why is this happening?

Australian scientists think this is due to colder temperatures in the stratosphere, which is where the ozone hole forms. Warmer temperatures in the troposphere below it, caused by global warming, mean that warm air no longer reaches the stratosphere, so global warming may be undoing all the good we've done by restricting CFC spray can emissions that destroy the ozone layer. As our climate changes, the ozone hole may become a permanent, unfixable phenomenon.

This is an especially big problem for Australia, which is directly under the ozone hole. Ozone in the atmosphere shields the Earth from ultraviolet radiation from the sun that causes skin cancer and cataracts and skin cancer is already a major problem in Australia.

The ozone hole will expand to its largest size by the end of September, then will start shrinking again.

Ever get the idea that the people who are running things aren't too worried about what happens to the average guy?

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