The atmospheric chemist Susan Soloman, who was part of the recently published study on the Antarctic ozone hole, suggests that the ozone hole will heal towards the end of the century. The study was inspired after an observation that took place in October of the ozone layer.
It was realized that the ozone hole reached 23 million square kilometers, about 20 percent larger than the year before. It might, according to Solomon, have to do with volcanic eruptions that release aerosols.
The Antarctic ozone hole, which is visible in late August and expands to its full size in October, started to be monitored in the 1980s and has since presented data collection challenges. The timing of data collection is important since the ozone hole size changes with each year according to sunlight, temperature, and stratospheric cloud conditions.
Nonetheless, ever since the 1987 Montreal Protocol that banned chlorinated compounds in coolants and aerosols, conditions have been improving despite the influence of volcanoes.
Soloman’s stated simply of the recent ozone hole pattern, “We learned that the September is not nearly as variable in weather as October, and that it’s less sensitive to volcanic activity.”
After the scientists reviewed ozone hole data that ranged from 2000 to 2015, September was decided upon as the best representative month of the ozone hole. Since 2000, the ozone hole has shrunk by 4.5 million square kilometers on average.
Before jumping on the bandwagon to claim the ozone hole will be patched completely, an atmospheric chemist Susan Strahan warns that recovery is still dependent on how the chlorofluorocarbons degrade over time.
2060 is still predicted to be date when the hole completely closes up.