In a bit of good environmental news, NASA reports that the ozone hole over the South Pole has shrunk to its smallest extent since the anomaly was first discovered in 1982. Although international efforts in reducing the production of ozone-depleting compounds have been instrumental in allowing the ozone layer toread more

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?

In the midst of all our worry about global warming, we seem to have forgotten about the ozone hole. Now there’s good news that shows how the right response CAN make a difference: The ozone hole over Antarctica may close within 50 years, because the level of ozone-depleting CFCs in the atmosphere is declining.

Australian researcher Paul Fraser, who monitors CFCs from the island of Tasmania, says, “The major culprit in the production of the ozone hole is CFCs and they have started to decline in the lower atmosphere. We think the ozone hole will recover by about 2050.” Ozone-depleting gases in the upper atmosphere were at their peak in 2000, but have been declining since then. It takes around 11 years for changes in CFC emissions to be reflected in the ozone layer.

There have been conflicting reports about whether Antarctica is warming up or cooling down. Now scientists have discovered that this has been caused by the ozone hole.

Changing wind patterns triggered by the ozone hole are causing some areas to warm while others cool, according to a new study by David Thompson of Colorado State University. Thompson says that the ozone hole has become “the largest and most significant” cause of climate change on the ice continent.

The climate around Antarctica is dominated by strong westerly winds that swirl around a giant vortex of cold air that forms over the continent for much of the year. This polar vortex stretches from the ground into the stratosphere.