During the last few decades, chemical reactions of chlorine have been observed. The compound resulted from chlorofluorocarbons emissions is called CFC. It has been known to cause ozone above Earth’s South Pole to be destroyed. This week, scientists from MIT said that the ozone layer appears to be repairing itself.
Their work was published in the Science Journal. The team of experts found that the hole in the ozone layer has shrunk by over 1.5 million square miles, ever since 2000, when it was at its peak. This recovery has been slowing down over time, largely because of volcanic activity.
Overall, the hole looks like it’s healing itself. And scientists expect it to fully close by 2050. Ozone classifies as pollution when it’s above cities. But in Earth’s atmosphere, it protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, by reflecting it back.
The change is probably happening because of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which banned the use of CFC. These chemicals were used on a large scale, in old refrigerators and aerosol cans. The ozone hole is always on the move, and it grows from August onwards, reaching its peak in October.
The new study tracked the size of the hole from 2000 until 2015. Humanity can be confident that the planet is on a healing path. This study shows how collective action can change the way the planet works, for the better.
The fact that the hole is healing is a great relief for Susan Solomon, a professor at MIT. The findings suggest that new policies have put our planet on the way of healing itself. Experts did not think it would happen so fast.
The study linked the ozone’s recovery with the decline of using atmospheric chlorine from CFC, chemicals once emitted by refrigerators, dry cleaning, hairspray and other aerosols. Anja Schmidt, from the University of Leeds, agrees, describing the Montreal Protocol as a success story which provided solutions to a global environment problem.
The ozone hole was discovered for the first time in the 1950s, through the use of early satellite imagery. The study allowed the team to measure the impacts of industrial pollutants, changes in winds and temperature and volcanoes. Computer models and observations all had the same conclusion: The ozone layer is repairing itself.
Image Source – Wikipedia