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Record ozone thinning looms in Arctic

Depletion could expose midlatitudes to higher-than-normal UV

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6:54pm, March 16, 2011

The annual thinning of ozone over the Arctic is shaping up to be especially severe this spring, measurements by European scientists indicate. During the past six weeks, a large portion of the region’s stratosphere has lost at least half of the layer that normally filters out much of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

The new data “are kind of a warning that we might be getting into an ozone hole situation,” says Francis Schmidlin of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, whose team is not affiliated with the European polar-ozone monitoring group.

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