A “huge” ozone hole that was unexpected to prevail has been observed in the Earth’s atmosphere over practically the entire tropical region.
The hole is a year-round gap in the planet’s ozone layer and is roughly seven times bigger than the better-known Antarctic ozone hole that opens up every year in spring.
Professor Qing-Bin Lu, a scientist from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, announced that as per his research,” the hole has already been present for more than 30 years and covers such a massive area that half of the world’s population could be affected.”
He also declared that: “Unlike the Antarctic ozone hole that only appears in the spring season, the tropical ozone hole appears in all seasons since the 1980s, and its area is roughly seven times greater.”
“It could cause global concern as it can cause increases in ground-level UV radiation and associated risks of skin cancer and cataracts, and other negative effects on health and ecosystems in tropical regions.”
He explained that “preliminary reports showing that ozone depletion levels over equatorial regions are already endangering large populations therein, and the associated UV radiation reaching the regions was far greater than expected.”
The new research has also described differences in the existing theories on how the ozone is depleted.
In the past, the existence of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was supposed to be the biggest reason for ozone depletion. The 1987 Montreal Protocol, which banned them, has significantly decreased their use.
However, in spite of this global ban, the largest, deepest, and most persistent ozone holes could be detected in the late 2000s and in 2020-2021.