The hole in the southern hemisphere’s ozone layer is already larger than it was last year.
According to the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring System, the size has increased drastically over the past week and is already larger than Antarctica.
The ozone layer is important because it absorbs ultraviolet light coming from the sun, protecting living things on Earth from receiving too much of the harsh radiation.
Every spring in the southern hemisphere the ozone hole appears, but experts have shared that it has already surpassed the record-breaking hole of last year.
“Forecasts show that this year´s hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one,” said Vincent-Henri Peuch, who heads the EU’s satellite monitoring service.
Experts have said the damaged layer is in the beginning stages of recovery, likely in response to the The Montreal Protocol of 1987 that banned halocarbons.
Even so, it will likely take at least 40 additional years for the substances that have harmed the ozone — like those used in spray cans — to disappear from the atmosphere, according to CBS.