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Antarctic ozone hole slightly smaller than average this year

25 October 2013

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The ozone hole that forms each year in the stratosphere over Antarctica was slightly smaller in 2013 than average in recent decades, according to NASA satellite data.

The ozone hole is a seasonal phenomenon that starts to form during the Antarctic spring (August and September). The September-October 2013 average size of the hole was 8.1 million square miles (21 million square kilometres). For comparison, the average size measured since the mid-1990s when the annual maximum size stopped growing is 8.7 million square miles (22.5 million square kilometres). However, the size of the hole in any particular year is not enough information for scientists to determine whether a healing of the hole has begun.

"There was a lot of Antarctic ozone depletion in 2013, but because of above average temperatures in the Antarctic lower stratosphere, the ozone hole was a bit below average compared to ozone holes observed since 1990," said Paul Newman, an atmospheric scientist and ozone expert at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

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