Ozone layer hole will 'totally heal within 50 years'

Ozone layer hole will 'totally heal within 50 years'

This combination of images made available by NASA shows areas of low ozone above Antarctica on September 2000, left, and September 2018 GENEVA: The ozone layer that shields life from cancer-causing solar rays is recovering at a rate of one to three percent per decade, reversing years of risky depletion caused by the release of harmful chemicals, a United Nations study said on Monday.

The measures taken to fix the damage will also have an important beneficial effect on climate change, as some of the gases that caused the ozone layer to thin and in places disappear also contribute to warming the atmosphere. Levels were found to be reduced in the 1980s, caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons, gases used in spray cans, fridges and insulation.

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said: "Over the last three decades, the Montreal protocol has fulfilled its original objective to heal the ozone layer".

The earth's protective ozone layer is well on track to recovery, thanks to worldwide efforts against ozone-depleting substances.

"The Antarctic ozone hole is recovering, while continuing to occur every year".

Paul Newman of Nasa, joint chairman of...

Scientific evidence of the depletion of the ozone layer over the Antarctic was first presented in 1985, and in 1987 the Montreal protocol was signed, binding world governments to reduce and phase out the harmful chemicals identified as causing the problem. "It shows that the ozone layer is under fix, and highlights areas that must be strengthened for it to be an equally successful platform to phase out HFCs to limit global warming", said Shikha Bhasin, programme lead, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).

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And if recovery rates continue as they are predicted to do, the report says the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone should be fully recovered by the 2030s, the Southern Hemisphere ozone in the 2050s, and the polar regions before 2060.

The University of Colorado's Brian Toon, who wasn't part of the report, said the success doesn't mean the fight to save the ozone layer is over just yet.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

"We are only at a point where recovery may have started", Toon said, pointing to some ozone measurements that haven't increased yet.

However, while most of the banned damaging gases have been phased out, the study found at least one violation - having spotting that production and emission of CFC-11 unexpected increased in eastern Asia since 2012. Newman said we'll need to ensure that the replacements for these gases don't worsen global warming.

But an amendment to the Montreal Protocol is set to come into place next year which will ban the chemical.

"I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060", Newman said.

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