Antarctic ozone layer hole is healing–study
A researcher finally proclaimed that the Antarctic ozone hole is slowly recovering, three decades after the 1987 Montreal Protocol,which was ratified by all member-states of the United Nations, boycotted the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC).
Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published a study confirming that the ozone layer is healing after the ozone-damaging chemicals have been phased out. By the mid-century the ozone layer will fully recover, she said.
In 1986, Solomon warned that the ozone layer was being wrecked by the presence of chlorine and bromine, two chemicals that are from CFC, reported BBC and tech news site Gizmodo.
Solomon and her colleagues measured the amount of ozone in the stratosphere in 2000 and 2015, and they announced that the ozone layer’s hole shrank by 4 million square kilometers in 2000, which is equivalent to the size of India.
However, the same academic research ruled out the presence of active volcanoes as a hindering factor toward the ozone layer’s healing.“This was very unexpected, and we thought that the reason might have to do with volcanoes,” Solomon told Gizmodo. Aerosols erupt during volcanic explosions and they contribute to polar stratospheric clouds. Hence, this phenomenon leads to ozone-destroying reactions to happen.
Solomon told BBC World Science in Action: “Until we did our recent work, no one realized that the Calbuco eruption in Chile actually had significantly affected the ozone loss in October of last year.” Solomon believes that her groundbreaking study can pave the way to solving other environmental problems.
A team of British scientists observed a catastrophic slimming of the ozone layer in the stratosphere 10 kilometers above Antarctica in the mid-1980s. The ozone shields the planet from perilous ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Gianna Francesca Catolico