You've probably heard about ozone depletion and the relationship to climate change and NASA just released some good, and really interesting news about the ozone hole.
This year the hole, which is located over Antarctica, was much smaller than expected. In fact, it was the smallest it's been since the hole was discovered in 1982. And it turns out, the smaller hole is actually the result of unusual weather patterns in the upper atmosphere over the south pole.
Now it’s important to note the ozone hole itself is caused by the interaction between chemicals called CFCs and ozone. And even though the use of CFCs was banned in 1987, they last a really long time in the atmosphere.
The other thing to note is that ozone depletion is enhanced when temperatures are colder so the hole size fluctuates from season to season. Appearing in the colder months and disappearing by summer, and it typically reaches is maximum size around October.
This year, the polar vortex - which is a spiraling wind pattern over the south pole followed a different pattern than normal. This warmed the upper atmosphere - where you find the ozone layer, which significantly slowed ozone depletion and kept the hole smaller.
It's also important to note that although the smaller ozone hole this year was caused by weather patterns, the ozone layer has shown overall signs of improvement with the banning of CFCs in 1987.