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Warm air helped keep 2017 Antarctic ozone hole smallest in 29 years

 November 2, 2017Warmth in the Antarctic stratosphere helped limit the size of the ozone hole in 2017 to the smallest observed since 1988, NOAA and NASA scientists say.
This time-lapse photo shows the path of an ozonesonde as it rises into the atmosphere in the South Pole. Scientists release these balloon-borne sensors to measure the thickness of the ozone layer.

Measurements from NASA satellites showed the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September grew to only 7.6 million square miles in extent (coverage) before starting to recover this year. The average peak area observed since 1991 has been roughly 10 million square miles.

The ozone hole reached its peak extent on Sept. 11, covering an area about two and a half times the size of the United States, and then declined through the remainder of September and into October. NOAA’s ground- and balloon-based measurements also found the least amount of ozone depletion since 1988. The two agencies have monitored the ozone hole for the past 25 years.