Gaping hole in ozone layer 'is healing itself' scientists say

Christopher Davidson
November 8, 2018

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. The worldwide agreement compelled the global community to begin the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and halons. The blue and purple colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone.

The Montreal Protocol was finalized in 1987 in response to the realization that numerous chemicals used in aerosols, air conditioning systems, refrigerators, and industrial solvents were eroding the planet's stratosphere, creating a hole and allowing harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation to seep through the ozone layer.

The four-yearly review of the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement which was implemented to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, found long-term decreases in the atmospheric abundance of controlled ozone-depleting substances and the ongoing recovery of stratospheric ozone. The findings come at a time when the world is still grappling with a sobering message from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that just 12 years remain to limit global warming to 1.5 degree C. The IPCC says beyond 1.5 degree C, the impact of a further rise in global temperatures will begin to have an increasingly extreme impact on humans and ecosystems.

As a result, in 1985 a gaping hole in the ozone over the South Pole was discovered. The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears by late December until the next Southern Hemisphere spring.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

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

Women who wake up early "at lower risk of developing breast cancer"
So will a good night's sleep stop me getting cancer? "We know that sleep is important generally for health", said Richmond. About 5 per cent of women with breast cancer have inherited a gene linked to the condition.

The Protocol is set to be strengthened in 2019 with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment which calls for the future use of powerful climate-warming gases in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products to be slashed.

Mr Newman added: "I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060, ' he said".

'That will be for our grandchildren to do'.

Image copyright Antartica What does the ozone layer do?

Ozone is a colourless combination of three oxygen atoms kilometres above Earth's surface, it shields us from ultraviolet rays which cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

The stratosphere increases in warmth with elevation because ozone gases in the upper layers absorb intense ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

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