Ozone layer recovering at 1 to 3 per cent per decade

Olive Hawkins
November 8, 2018

The ozone layer is a layer of the atmosphere which sits about 10 kilometres above the Earth's surface and protects life from ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

This healing progress is attributed to worldwide initiatives under the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement that was formed more than 30 years ago in response to climate change concerns.

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

As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador.

Paul Newman of Nasa, joint chairman of...

The Montreal Protocol helped phase out ozone depleting chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons - known as CFCs - which were used widely in the production of fridges and spray cans until it transpired that they contributed to the breakdown of the ozone layer.

On Monday, the United Nations shared the findings of "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018", the latest study part of a series of reports that monitor ozone recovery in the stratosphere.

The Protocol was in response to the revelation that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances - used in aerosols, cooling and refrigeration systems, and many other items - were tearing a hole in the ozone layer and allowing risky ultraviolet radiation to flood through.

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The hole has exposed us to strong ultra-violet light, which has in turn been linked to an increase in diagnoses for skin cancer, prompting severe bans on the manufacture of products featuring the damaging chemicals.

The report also said it was the first time the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk in both size and depth and size since 2000.

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

"We're raising a flag to the global community to say, 'This is what's going on, and it is taking us away from timely recovery of the ozone layer, '" NOAA scientist Stephen Montzka, the study's lead author, said in a statement at the time.

Another problem is that new technology has found an increase in emissions of a banned CFC out of East Asia, the report noted.

An amendment to the Montreal Protocol that goes into effect next year would cut use of some of those gases. Newman said we'll need to ensure that the replacements for these gases don't worsen global warming.

"I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060", Newman told AP. "The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali amendment holds such promise for climate action in future".

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