According to a new study from NASA, the world’s efforts to boost recovery of the ozone layer have paid off handsomely.
A research paper on the success story was published Jan. 4 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The study shows that over the last 12 years, the amount of chemicals that cause ozone depletion has dropped by 20 percent. Researchers also found that the amount of chlorine has dropped 0.8 percent every year from 2005 through 2016.
Lead author Susan Strahan explained that less chlorine means less depletion which means the ozone hole is allowed to recover. Strahan is working with NASA at its Goddard Space Flight Center.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which generate chlorine and other ozone-depleting substances, are contained in packing materials, sprays, and freezers. Chlorine is a byproduct of CFCs after they come into contact with solar radiation.
Ozone Layer Is Recovering
The ozone hole was first discovered in the late 1980s. The ozone layer is a protective shield against UV radiation, which can lead to skin cancer and eye problems in humans, immune response issues and other problems in animals and plants.
A couple of years after the hole in the ozone layer was discovered, world governments came up with various solutions. As a result, several states signed off the Montreal Protocol, which lead to the ban of CFCs.
Decades later, the ozone hole continued to shrink until it reached the smallest diameter in November 2017.
The latest study suggests a link between the CFC ban and a smaller hole in the ozone layer. NASA scientists used data collected by the Aura satellite to back their theory. The satellite measured the levels of hydrochloric acid in the atmosphere’s upper layers. Hydrochloric acid appears after the ozone layer is destroyed by chlorine.
Measurements showed that chlorine levels have been slipping 0.8 percent every year.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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