Feeds

This year's ozone hole set to be a whopper

Penguins rush to buy suncream

Top three mobile application threats

The hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica this year is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever, satellite images from the European Space Agency (ESA) suggest.

The area of depletion, as the scientists call it, already covers ten million square kilometres, is still expanding, and won't reach its maximum until some time in September. Only the holes in 1996 and 2000 were larger at this stage in their development, ESA says.

The Ozone layer naturally fluctuates through the year, reaching its peak thickness in the summer months and fading away during the winter. Regional variations in weather systems play a part in the timing of the hole's appearance, ESA explains.

During the southern hemisphere winter, the prevailing winds in Antarctica, known as the polar vortex, keep the atmospheric mass above the Antarctic continent is isolated from exchanges with mid-latitude air.

This keeps the air mass above the continent cold, and in the cold and dark, clouds that contain chlorine can form in the polar stratosphere.

Once the spring returns, this chlorine, much of it originating from man-made pollutants like chlorofluorocarbons, disrupts the ozone layer.

The sunlight splits the chlorine into highly reactive ions that break ozone down into normal oxygen molecules. One molecule of chlorine can break down thousands of ozone molecules.

However, use of CFCs has decreased significantly since the 1987 Montreal Protocol, and there is evidence that the protective atmospheric layer is beginning to recover from the damage wrought. A full recovery is not expected before 2050. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.