It's good news at last for the ozone layer after decades of decline. Image Credit: NASA
A large hole in the Earth's protective ozone layer is finally starting to show signs of healing up.
Situated high up in the planet's stratosphere, the ozone layer is a special region which helps to protect the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun.
Scientists first noticed that it appeared to be thinning above Antarctica back in the 1980s, a worrying trend that was shown to be due to the presence of certain chemicals in hair sprays, refrigerators, air conditioning systems and other CFC-containing products.
The discovery that these gases were responsible for depleting the ozone layer led to a significant reduction in the manufacture and use of these items in the hope that this would slow down or even reverse the damage that they had been causing.
Fast-forward to the present and now scientists have revealed that these efforts appear to have proven successful as there has been a distinct improvement in the ozone layer over Antarctica.
New data has shown that the area of thinning has reduced by 4 million square kilometers since the year 2000 - that's a region roughly the size of India.
"Even though we phased out the production of CFCs in all countries including India and China around the year 2000, there's still a lot of chlorine left in the atmosphere," said Professor Susan Solomon, the researcher who originally linked ozone layer depletion with the chemicals in CFCs.
"It has a lifetime of about 50-100 years, so it is starting to slowly decay and the ozone will slowly recover. We don't expect to see a complete recovery until about 2050 or 2060 but we are starting to see that in September the ozone hole is not as bad as it used to be."
Source: BBC News | Comments (10)
Ozone Layer, Antarctica