ANTARCTIC OZONE HOLE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     23rd November 2023        

Context: Recently, a study in Nature Communications revealed that the ozone hole over the Antarctic has not only grown larger but also thinner throughout most of the spring.

Antarctic Ozone Hole

  • About:  It is defined as the total area where ozone amounts are below the historical threshold of 220 Dobson units.

oThe dimensions of the Antarctic ozone hole fluctuate annually, typically initiating in August and concluding by November or December.

  • Ozone Hole: An ozone hole is a region of the stratosphere over Antarctica where the ozone layer is exceptionally depleted.

oThe ozone hole is not technically a “hole” where no ozone is present but thinning of the layer of ozone layer.

Ozone Layer

  • About: The ozone layer is located in the stratosphere, and it serves as a protective gas shield by absorbing harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
  • This shield helps protect us from the negative consequences of excessive UV exposure.
  • UV radiation has a significant impact on skin cancer rates, emphasizing the crucial role of preserving the ozone layer.

Significance of Ozone Layer

  • The ozone layer is essential for life on Earth as it absorbs the most harmful type of UV radiation, UV-B radiation.
  • Anything that shields us from UV rays contributes to lowering cancer rates, given that most skin cancers are caused by excessive UV radiation.
  • Absorption of UV radiation by ozone in the stratosphere leads to the heating of the surrounding air, causing a stratospheric temperature inversion.
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