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Science & Technology

Hole in the ozone layer is starting to heal

By T.K. Randall
July 1, 2016 · Comment icon 10 comments

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)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by White Unicorn 8 years ago
It's good news that some things like this can start to reverse. It's been a long time, but I remember when it first was studied there were some atmosphere experiments done to help patch areas  to rebuild as well as reducing the polution aggragates. This wasn't mentioned in the article, does anyone else remember this? I think I read about the experiments in Scientific American and they were helping the regeneration of ozone layers and were extended to some smaller ozone breaks in other locations as well as this major one.   
Comment icon #2 Posted by UFOwatcher 8 years ago
I wonder if we are patting ourselves on the back for something that may turn out to be a natural cyclic event. Either way it's good news...
Comment icon #3 Posted by Doug1029 8 years ago
This gives me hope that our climate issues can ultimately be solved. Doug
Comment icon #4 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
Yay humans (for once)!
Comment icon #5 Posted by jpjoe 8 years ago
Can't say if it's a good thing for the most part since ozone is a greenhouse gas. Atmosphere needs to be balanced.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Marcelina 8 years ago
Wow, that's fantastic to hear. Well that's something to be happy about! That made my day.
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
Huh. Wonder if our efforts to reduce certain types of gas emissions which deplete the ozone layer is having a "healing" effect. Don't know, but like said, good news. EDIT: Maybe some type of natural coincidence, but good news anyway.
Comment icon #8 Posted by rattpoison 8 years ago
I'm sure that not as many people use Aquanet now as did in the 80's.  That's probably what did it.  I think I'll go do a burnout to celebrate. We don't want to much good news, though, or donations to environmental causes might dry up and that would give hippies another reason to whine.
Comment icon #9 Posted by questionmark 8 years ago
Ozone is created naturally every day and decomposes naturally every day. The problem the ozone layer had is that we kept adding decomposition accelerators to the atmosphere day by day, most notable CFC (Chlorine-Flouride-Carbon) gases used not only as propellants in spray bottles but also as coolant in air conditioning and refrigerators or to foam up Styrofoam. Ever since those products have been banned by most governments the ozone layer was recovering. And the horror of the situation was that the damage created in 30 years will need 100 to fully heal.  
Comment icon #10 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
Well, at least we're on the right track.

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