I hear New Zealand is beautiful, but I'm never going there, because the ozone is thin and I'll die of skin cancer. I hear Norway is beautiful, too, but it looks like I can't go there either, because now there's an unprecedentedly big ozone hole over the Arctic.

Winter often thins the ozone layer over the Arctic, but this year, for the first time, scientists are saying the hole is comparable to the one of over Antarctica. It's twice as bad as the two biggest holes scientists had previously observed over the Arctic, and in some sections, 80 percent of the ozone is gone.

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It’s not totally clear how and whether this hole is connected to climate change. The paper that documented it says that it was caused by extreme cold in the upper atmosphere. It's a little bit counterintuitive, but climate change, which warms the lower atmosphere, could also be causing the upper atmosphere to cool down. Scientists know that the upper atmosphere (the stratosphere, for those who care) is cooling; it could be linked to climate change but they're not sure. More here and here, if you want to get geeky on this stuff.

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