Antarctic ozone hole grew more rapidly this year – UN agency

5 September 2003

The ozone hole in the Antarctic that appears annually at the start of the southern hemisphere spring has grown more rapidly than usual this year, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said today.

The ozone hole in the Antarctic that appears annually at the start of the southern hemisphere spring has grown more rapidly than usual this year, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said today.

The ozone layer provides a protective filter against ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and other health problems.

WMO spokesperson Carine Richard-Van Maele, noting that the latest information on the state of the ozone layer appeared in the agency’s new bulletin, reminded a news briefing in Geneva that 16 September was World Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.

In a report released to coincide with the Day last year, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) noted that despite good signs of recovery, the ozone layer would remain vulnerable for the next decade or so, even if countries complied with international agreements to protect it.

The report suggested that the concentration of ozone depleting substances in the upper atmosphere was now at or near its peak. As a consequence, scientists believe human-influenced disturbances on Earth's protective shield will now be "at or near their largest."

At the same time, it showed that the world had been making steady progress towards the recovery of the ozone layer, with the latest scientific results showing the total amount of ozone depleting chemicals in the lower atmosphere continuing to decline, if slowly.

 

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