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U.S. scientists say ozone hole a record

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. government space and earth scientists said this year's Antarctic ozone hole broke a record for area and depth.

NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said the average area of the ozone hole between Sept. 21-30 was 10.6 million miles. NASA's Aura satellite measured the total amount of ozone from the ground to the upper atmosphere over Antarctica. NOAA scientists used balloon-ferried instruments to measure ozone over the South Pole.

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When measurements were taken Oct. 9, scientists from NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder Colo., found nearly all of the ozone in the layer between eight and 13 miles above the Earth's surface was destroyed, a NASA said.

The ozone layer blocks harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. The ozone hole is a depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica. The hole is caused mainly by compounds that release chlorine and bromine gases in the stratosphere, NASA said.

Because the ozone hole is so huge, scientists said that as the sun rises higher in the sky during October and November, much more ultraviolet light than usual may reach Earth's surface in the southern hemisphere, NASA said.

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