Inhabitat reported that nearly thirty years ago, almost every country in the world signed the Montreal Protocol to ban CFCs of chlorofluorocarbons used in aerosols, refrigerators and dry cleaning. The chlorine in CFCs was found out to interact with ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere to deplete the ozone layer. MIT scientist Susan Solomon’s work helped give the catalysts for the Montreal Protocol. She is also the lead author on a study that was recently published in the journal “Science” that revealed that the ozone layer is healing at last.
Every August, the ozone hole begins to open and is typically fully formed in October. In the past years, scientists have usually scrutinized the ozone hole in October, but Susan Solomon and her team that includes 5 other scientists from the University of Leeds, UK and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado decided to switch their focus to September. According to their research, September is a better time to look because chlorine chemistry is in control of the rate at which the ozone hole forms at that time of the year. The research team tracked the September ozone hole data between 2000 and 2015 and looked at the satellite measurements of ozone and meteorological changes.
Their recent findings gave hope to many scientists. The chlorine levels in the atmosphere are depleting and the ozone hole is shrinking. September’s ozone hole have decreased by over 4 million square kilometres. The research team did see an ozone depletion spike in 2015m but were able to link it to a volcano eruption in Chile. The research team thinks the ozone hole may close up in the middle of the century.
Image credit: Inhabitat