Ozone Depletion Sets Record
The ozone hole over the Antartic is the largest it has been since it was
discovered in the 1980's. Scientists used the Total Ozone Mapping
Spectrometer (TOMS) and the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Instrument
(SBUV) to measure the ozone levels.
"This is the largest Antartic ozone hole we've ever observed, and it's
nearly the deepest," said Dr. Richard McPeters, Principal Investigator
Ozone protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation that is part of
sunlight. UV rays are what cause sunburns. They also can cause skin
cancer and damage crops and marine life.
Scientists don't believe that the record-setting trend will continue.
They attribute the greater ozone loss to stratospheric temperatures that
were colder than normal. It is still a problem, though, because people
who live near the Antartic may be exposed to greater levels of ultraviolet
radiation. Also, the hole will eventually spread out and dilute ozone
levels throughout the southern hemisphere.
Ozone is measured in Dobson units; the average concentration is 300 Dobson
units. 300 Dobson units corresponds to 3 millimeters, which is
how thick the ozone layer would be if it were compressed to sea level
News story originally written on October 14, 1998
Last modified April 24, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.