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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-24-06 12:54 AM
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Ozone hole is 'biggest on record'
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This year's Antarctic ozone hole is the largest on record, according to US government scientists.

The "hole" is a severe depletion of the ozone gas layer in the upper atmosphere that protects life on Earth by blocking ultraviolet rays from the sun.

From 21-30 September, its average area was 27.4 million sq km (10.6 million sq miles) - bigger than North America.

It is caused mainly by human-produced compounds that release chlorine and bromine gases into the stratosphere.

The Montreal Treaty was designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in spray-can propellants, responsible for ozone depletion.

As a result of the protocol and its amendments, concentrations of ozone-depleting substances in the lower atmosphere (troposphere) peaked around 1995 and are decreasing in the troposphere and stratosphere.

If the stratospheric weather conditions had been normal, the ozone hole would be expected to reach a size of about 8.9 to 9.3 million square miles.

Unusual extent

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument on Nasa's Aura satellite measures the total amount of ozone from the ground to the upper atmosphere over the entire Antarctic continent.

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