Video: Ozone Hole Bigger Than North America, Study
Over the Antarctica, the hole in the ozone layer has expanded to become bigger than the North American continent, said scientists, based on information collected in October. Currently it has reached 10 million square miles, just a bit smaller than the record set in 2006, when the size was 10.42 million square miles.
This ozone hole is on one region of earth's stratosphere in which the gas that blocks ultraviolet rays gets depleted below a threshold, according to Weather.com.
However, some improvement is found in the ozone situation, mainly due to recent laws and regulations in various countries, banning the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. Cheeringly, the ozone hole over Antarctica is actually repairing itself, according to Popular Science.
However, the hole keeps varying according to the seasons, becoming bigger in the spring and summer, which is currently the season in Antarctica. It is caused by the concentration of chlorofluorocarbons, or nontoxic, nonflammable chemicals containing carbon, chlorine and fluorine, rising due to the reduced temperatures at this time of the year, reported CBS News according to scientists from the German Aerospace Center. The warm air currents heading towards the South Pole tend to deplete the ozone.
Some of the favourable effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays include protection against skin cancer and cataracts, as well as blindness in animals. Scientists hope that the hole would repair itself by 2040 or later.