After an effort of almost 30 years, the scientists have announced that the Ozone Hole is healing. In a recently published article on the famous Science magazine, the researchers unveiled that the data they collected of the ozone layer shows signs of healing, kudos to the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987.
The Montreal Protocol was a worldwide treaty between various countries where they agreed to decrease the use of ozone-depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were found in a massive variety of industrial and consumer products at that time.
The treaty went into effect in 1989 and now, after 27 years, we are getting the result of that accord. The recent studies and reports indicated that the hole was on the mend and has shrunk by 1.5 million square miles since its peak in 2000, kudos to a combination of a reduction in CFCs and changing weather patterns.
The ozone layer in the atmosphere helps to protect life on Earth from harmful radiation. Over the Antarctic, depletions in the ozone layer are very common in the summer months which leads to the seasonal ‘ozone hole’ that researchers are keeping an eye on. So if the healing continues, the ozone hole could heal completely by the 2050s.
Susan Solomon one of the pioneers of the Montreal Protocol and the lead author of the study, said; “What’s exciting for me is, this brings so much of my work over 30 years full circle. Science was helpful in showing the path, diplomats and countries and industry were incredibly able in charting a pathway out of these molecules, and now we’ve seen the planet starting to get better. It’s a wonderful thing.”
Solomon’s work first showed the main reason behind the Ozone Hole, in 1986. This renowned scientist explained that CFCs could break down into chlorine and make their way into clouds in the Stratosphere. So when the chlorine comes into the touch with the sunlight, it eats away at the ozone in the atmosphere and thus creates the Ozone Hole. Now as the CFC is banned in many places and countries, those interactions are happening less often, and the hole is getting smaller and smaller in size.
The only phenomenon hindering the healing process is the volcanic eruptions as the volcanoes send damaging aerosols high into the atmosphere which harm the ozone layer. But controlling the actions of volcanoes is not in our hand, what we can do is correct the errors of our past by not using CFC.