Every year from August to October, when spring is in the Southern Hemisphere, the ozone layer over the Antarctic region is depleted, and between mid-September and mid-October, the hole reaches its maximum size.
This year, New Scientist reports, the hole was expected to be about the same as 2020, when it grew to 24 million square kilometers in early October - a fairly high figure. However, over the past week, the hole has grown significantly and is already more than 75% of the cases that have been recorded since 1979. This is data from the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS), which studies the situation using computer simulations and satellite observations. So far, the growth, the reasons for which scientists do not understand, have stopped, but in early October it may resume.
The ozone layer provides protection from harmful UV rays. The widespread use of chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons has led to the formation of the hole: they can reach the stratosphere, where they break down and release chlorine atoms that destroy ozone molecules. Since these synthetic compounds were banned, the hole began to "heal", but the recovery of the ozone layer is slow.