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The ozone levels over the Arctic this past year were the lowest on record, caused by unusually cold temperatures.
No records for low temperature were set this year, but the air remained at its coldest for an unusually long period of time, and covered an unusually large area. In addition, the polar vortex was stronger than usual. Here, winds circulate around the edge of the Arctic region, somewhat isolating it from the main world weather systems.
“Why [all this] occurred will take years of detailed study,” said Dr. [Michelle] Santee [from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory]. “It was continuously cold from December through April, and that has never happened before in the Arctic in the instrumental record.”