Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
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More protection United Nations says Earth’s ozone layer is healing

More protection United Nations says Earth’s ozone layer is healing

According to the report, the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, has been recovering steadily at a rate of 1 to 3 percent since 2000 thanks to the global efforts to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals.

"The Antarctic ozone hole is recovering, while continuing to occur every year".

"If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects".

At the recovery rates projected by the United Nations report, the northern hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s, followed by the southern hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060.

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.

The scientific assessment, released at a conference in Ecuador today, was described as "really good news" by Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center.

At its worst in the late 1990s, about 10 percent of the upper ozone layer was depleted, said Newman.


The purple and blue colors show where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone.

This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at almost 9.6 million square miles (24.8 million square kilometers). The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears by late December until the next Southern Hemisphere spring. He noted that if nothing had been done, two-thirds of the ozone layer would have been destroyed by 2065.

The UN had already hailed the success of the Protocol but the report said it was the first time that there were emerging indications that the Antarctic ozone hole had diminished in size and depth since 2000.

"We are only at a point where recovery may have started", Toon said, pointing to some ozone measurements that haven't increased yet.

But the report, from the UN's environment and world meteorological organisation, said there is evidence of an unexpected increase in CFC-11 from eastern Asia since 2012.

In 2019, the Montreal Protocol's strength will continue with the signing of the Kigali Amendment, an agreement that will ban the future use of climate-warming gases in air conditioners, refrigerators, and other consumer products. 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, ' he said. "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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