South Pole's ozone hole shrinks to smallest since discovery

This image made available by NASA shows a map of a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. The purple and blue colors indicate the least amount of ozone, and the yellows and reds show the most. In October 2019, NASA says the ozone hole near the south pole this year is the smallest since it was discovered, but it is more due to freakish Antarctic weather than efforts to cut down on pollution.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ozone hole near the south pole this year is the smallest since it was discovered, but it is more due to freakish Antarctic weather than efforts to cut down on pollution, NASA reported .

This fall, the average hole in Earth's protective ozone layer is 3.6 million square miles (9.3 million square kilometers). That's down from a peak of 10.3 million square miles (26.6 million square kilometers) in 2006.

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