Its impact, which is said to rival even that of greenhouse gases, has been detected in tropical regions far from the icy continent, over which the ozone depletion occurs every southern spring.
But writing in the journal Science, Columbia University researchers say that the ozone hole’s sway over climate has been most profound in Australia.
They say it has been about one-third to blame for that country’s recent spate of droughts.
Researcher Sarah Kang said that the ozone hole of the past five decades has often produced a southward migration of the Southern Hemisphere jet stream, directing moisture-laden air masses too far south to bring Australia its historic levels of rainfall.
“It's really amazing that the ozone hole, located so high up in the atmosphere over Antarctica, can have an impact all the way to the tropics and affect rainfall there - it’s just like a domino effect,” said Kang.