Well, there’s a popular myth going on among people nowadays that the Ozone layer is healing itself because of the Covid-19 lockdown!
Netizens from all over the world are claiming that healing of the ozone layer is one of the constructive effects of the lockdown. However, studies and ecologists have verified that the claim is completely misleading.
While the whole world is going through the lockdown, amidst this situation, scientists stated that the Ozone layer is healing itself and netizens went crazy! Even the biggest hole in the Ozone layer which was spreading over 1 million square kilometres above the Arctic has closed due to a few and far between atmospheric situations. Such holes in the Ozone layer are pretty common above the Antarctic at the South Pole, particularly from July to September.
The fact is that the closing of the hole has nothing to do with the COVID-19 lockdown.
It’s because of the polar vortex and high-altitude currents that are responsible for bringing cold air to Polar Regions. According to the experts, the condition of the Ozone layer had started the drastic changes in the air currents which are called jet steams that flow towards the earth’s north and south poles at great altitudes. Due to Ozone depletion, these jet streams have been driven further south than their normal patterns and this is causing rainfall over South America, East Africa, and Australia, and to changes in ocean currents and salinity.
Since 2011, the Ozone depletion over the Arctic hit a ‘record level’ but the hole has now closed, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated. WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told a UN briefing in Geneva stated that the “The springtime phenomenon in the northern hemisphere was driven by ozone-depleting substances still in the atmosphere and very cold winter in the stratosphere. These two factors combined to give a very high level of depletion which was worse than we saw in 2011. It’s now back to normal again … the ozone hole has closed.”
So quite naturally, reporters asked her whether less pollution in the pandemic had played a role, said: “It was completely unrelated to COVID.”
The answer is a peculiarly strong polar vortex. The polar vortex is a large area of cold air high in the atmosphere that usually spins over the North Pole. An Ozone hole is an affected losing ground of the Ozone layer that’s naturally increased by colder temperatures. Because of unusually high temperatures high above Antarctica, the Ozone hole shortened to its smallest size on record last October.
According to the CAMS (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service), “Ozone depletion over the Arctic in 2020 has been so severe that most of the ozone at an altitude of around 11 miles had been depleted. This has occurred only two other times since ozone observations began in the 1970s. The first time was during the winter of 1996-97 and the second was during the winter of 2010-11. In both cases, the extreme ozone depletion was caused by unusual weather patterns that kept the Arctic colder for longer periods than most years.”
The Ozone layer is essential for the reason that it acts as a sunblock by blocking potentially damaging ultraviolet energy from reaching the Earth’s surface. Without it, humans as well as animals may experience increased rates of skin cancer in addition to other ailments such as cataracts.