A major research expedition has recently shed new light on the extent to which the arctic ozone layer has been depleted.
The MOSAiC program, then the largest research expedition ever of the Arctic Ocean, set off in September 2019. Hundreds of scientists representing some twenty nations were involved with the project.
Central to the project was the German ice breaker “Polarstern,” or Polar Star, which was left adrift in polar ice for a year. Instruments aboard the vessel took atmospheric measurements, and the results of the study are now being discussed at the Arctic Round Table.
A key finding in the study was that even after the international banning of ozone-harming substances, the largest hole ever found in the ozone was detected over the Arctic at an altitude of some 20km.
Dr. Markus Rex, a German researcher at the University of Potsdam, stated that: “the ozone layer is not improving. Things are getting worse in the Arctic. Now we understand that it is because the decomposers from the gas are still present in the atmosphere. Climate change makes them more aggressive: it’s bad news for the future of the ozone layer in the Arctic.”
Nevertheless, there is some occasion for hope.
Dr. Markus Rex continued: “We saw that under the ice the sea reaches a freezing point down to a depth of 14 meters in the winter. There is a healthy base for winter ice formation, and we believe we are still in a position to save the ice if we stop global warming. It responds very linearly to warming, and if we stop the warming, the melting of the ice will stop. That is good. This puts a lot of responsibility on our shoulders. We are the last generation that can save the sea ice in the Arctic.”