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The ozone “hole” above Antarctica in late September and early October could be among the biggest on record, scientists with the Australian Antarctic Division and the Bureau of Meteorology predicted on 21 August. The scientists have found colder than usual atmospheric temperatures present, which contribute to ozone loss.

Australian Antarctic Division atmospheric scientist Andrew Klekociuk said the current meteorological trends are similar to those in 2000, a year when the ozone hole was of record size and covered an area about three times that of Australia. The first signs of cooling of the lower stratosphere were detected by lidar and balloon measurements at the Australian Antarctic Davis Station about 6 weeks earlier than during 2001 and 2002, he said. These cooling signs included the early detection of polar stratospheric clouds.