WASHINGTON – The Earth's protective ozone layer finally heals from damage caused by aerosol sprays and refrigerants, says a new…
WASHINGTON – The Earth’s protective ozone layer finally heals from damage caused by aerosol sprays and refrigerants, says a new UN report.
The ozone layer had slipped since the late 1970s. Researchers aroused the alarm and ozone destructive chemicals were phased out all over the world.
As a result, the upper ozone layer above the northern hemisphere would be fully repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole would disappear during the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released on Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador. The southern hemisphere draws a bit and its ozone layer should be healed in the middle of the century.
“It’s really good news,” says the report with President Paul Newman, World Researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “If ozone depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen great effects. We stopped it.”
High in the atmosphere protects the ozone from ultraviolet rays causing skin cancer, crop damage and other problems. The use of artificial chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), which releases chlorine and bromine, began to eat away from ozone. In 1
987, countries worldwide crossed the Montreal Protocol to terminate the CFC, and companies were compensated for spray cans and other uses.
By the worst in the late 1990’s about 10 percent of the upper ozone layer was depleted, Newman said. Since 2000, it has increased by about 1 to 3 percent per decade, reported the report.
This year the ozone hole reached the South Pole of nearly 9.6 million square kilometers. It is about 16 percent less than the largest hole registered – 11.4 million square million in 2006.
The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears in December to the next southern hemisphere spring, “said Newman.
The ozone layer begins about 6 miles above the ground and stretches for almost 25 miles; Ozone is a colorless combination of three oxygen atoms.
If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.
But it’s not a complete success story yet, said University of Colorado Brian Toon, who was not part of the report.
“We are only in a point where recovery may have begun,” said said and pointed to some ozone measurements that have not risen yet.
Another problem is that new technology has found an increase in emissions of a forbidden CFC from eastern Asia, noted the report.
The ozone hole itself has some shielded Antarctica from the much larger effects of global warming – it has warmed up but not as much as it would likely without ozone loss, said Ross Salawitch, an atmosphere researcher at the University of Maryland who included the report.
So a healed ozone layer will worsen the human climate change there, “said Newman.  Researchers do not know how much a healed ozone hole will heat Antarctica.