The Nation

The National Science Foundation said it is flying four teams of scientists to Antarctica in the dead of winter to try to find out what is causing a dramatic "hole" in the ozone radiation shield above the frozen continent. About half of the ozone above a broad area of Antarctica has been disappearing every spring since the mid-1970s and researchers do not know if it is an early warning sign of changes for the entire planet or whether it is just a local phenomenon. Ozone, a form of oxygen, filters out harmful amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

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