Ozone is a naturally occurring gas found in the atmosphere where it absorbs most of the sun's ultraviolet light - invisible rays which are harmful to both plant and animal life.

Good News

In the autumn of 2006 the hole in the ozone layer was the largest it has ever been at 29.6 million square miles, larger than Antarctica itself!  This was due to a number of factors, natural conditions as well as man-made.  However since that ozone levels have remained static and although it has not yet started to decrease in size, most scientists agree that the ozone layer will recover, but signs of recovery will not be seen until 2020, and full recovery will not take place until at least 2049 over middle latitudes and 2065 over Antarctica.

Monitoring the Ozone Layer

From 1996 - 2006 a NASA Earth Probe space craft collected data until its transmitter failed.  Now spacecraft Aura, launched in 2004, is collecting data on a fortnightly cycle about many regions of the world.  The UN announced in 2008 the establishment of a new station in the Persian Gulf to monitor the climate and ozone levels.

You can observe daily incoming data and view annual charts on the Antarctic's ozone layer and ozone hole on this NASA website.

Read More: The Ozone Layer and Climate Change

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