Unusual northern winter puts ozone hole above the Arctic

By John Timmer

Unusual northern winter puts ozone hole above the Arctic

ESA/Finnish Meteorological Institute

The Antarctic’s ozone hole forms in the stratosphere every winter. It’s a region of low ozone concentrations that puts the local population at risk of heightened UV exposure when the sun returns. Fortunately, the local population is tiny, and the hole dissipates considerably before reaching populated areas of the Southern Hemisphere. Although the atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere tends to limit the formation of a similar hole in more populated areas, this past year’s conditions proved to be an exception, and a large area of depleted ozone has formed over Scandinavia, resulting in a warning about UV exposure from the World Meteorological Organization.

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