Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. It is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. 


The Antarctic Ozone Hole

You may have heard of the hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic. CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) cause ozone depletion when they are released into the atmosphere. These gases were widely used in refrigerators and as propellant in aerosol sprays.  The Montreal Protocol of 1987 effectively banned their use by most leading industrial nations, though a few nations have actually increased their use of CFCs since this time.  Developed countries have been reducing their consumption of HCFCs and were due to completely phase them out by 2020. Developing countries agreed to start their phase out process in 2013 and are now following a stepwise reduction until the complete phase-out of HCFCs by 2030. 

The extreme cold of the Antarctic may also be a factor in ozone depletion, as there is a similar hole over the Arctic. 

Read More: Melting Ice Sheets

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