A remarkable new study suggests that the ozone layer is healing itself, a reversal of a trend that has gone on for decades.
In an incredible turnaround, scientists have observed the Earth’s ozone layer appearing to start closing up, and they think it is because of something positive that humans did for a change. The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that a reduction in chemicals damaging to the ozone layer has resulted in a 20 percent lower depletion rate since 2005.
Scientists found that chlorine levels decline by about 0.8 percent each year over the past decade, and as a result the ozone depletion is declining. Chemicals that harm the ozone, mainly from aerosol sprays, packing materials, and refrigerants, are known as chloroflurocarbons (CFCs), and the sun’s ultraviolet radiation turns CFCs into chlorine.
Scientists first reported the hole in the ozone layer back in the 1980s, and it raised a considerable amount of alarm as it is the ozone that protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Since then, governments around the globe have been working to ban CFCs and reduce their impact on the environment, and it appears now we are finally seeing the fruits of that.
“We see very clearly that chlorine from CFCs is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it,” said lead author Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.