High above Antarctica, the atmosphere is slowly recovering from the decades-long barrage of manmade chemicals that ate a hole in the protective ozone layer.
But the legacy of that destruction lingers. Scientists have linked the ozone hole that forms each Antarctic spring high above Earth to changes in the fierce band of westerly winds that swirls around Antarctica. Those winds, closer to the continent's surface, have grown stronger and moved poleward over the past several decades.
And now a new study suggests that the ozone hole has an even broader reach. It finds evidence those shifting winds are speeding circulation patterns in polar waters. That shift is important because it may already be weakening the Southern Ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and slow the march of manmade climate change.