From: Reuters
Published September 16, 2008 09:23 AM

Antarctic ozone hole already larger than in 2007

GENEVA (Reuters) - The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica has already surpassed its 2007 size this year, and is set to keep growing for another few weeks, the U.N. weather agency said on Tuesday.

The Antarctic ozone hole appears every year and normally stretches to about the size of North America, reaching its maximum size in late September or early October.

But in 2008, the World Meteorological Organization said the protective layer, which shields the Earth from ultra-violet rays that can cause skin cancer, began to thin relatively late.

"During the last couple of weeks it has grown rapidly and has now passed the maximum size attained in 2007. Since the ozone hole is still growing, it is too early to determine how large this year's ozone hole will be," it said in a statement.

The ozone hole covered 27 million square km as of last Saturday (September 13), against 25 million square km at its peak last year, according to the WMO whose statement was issued on International Day for the Preservation of Ozone Layer.

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