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Scientists released the very first proof that the ozone layer in Antarctica is starting to recover its density.
The ozone hole shrunk more than 4 million square kilometers in the last two decades. The peak of the ozone depletion happened in the year 2000, and since then scientists from all over the world stressed the importance of recovering Earth’s protective layer.
A recent study showed fluctuations in the ozone hole, and even though the effects of volcanic eruptions still affected the layers, the trend was set towards recovery.
The positive results are attributed to the Montreal Protocol, which banned the use of products that relied on chlorofluorocarbons to function. In the 80s, almost every house electronic used the chemical compound, from hairspray to refrigerators.
Experts say that the new study shows the power that human beings have over the faith of their planet. Realizing that something was wrong and taking serious measures worldwide to correct the effects ended with real change. The planet seems to respond to the environmentalists’ efforts worldwide.
The ozone hole was discovered in the 50s, and since then the scientists took as reference data collected in the month of October in the Antarctic area.
Ozone is sensitive not only to chlorine but also to sunlight and low temperatures that offer the conditions for polar stratospheric clouds to appear. Ozone depletion begins in late August, and by October the ozone hole reaches its maximum surface.
The authors of the study took into consideration the modifications that occurred through all the months of the year. In order to verify the rate of the depletion, they started to analyze data from the month of September, when the chlorine chemistry completely controls the dimensions of the hole.
The study took ozone measurements from weather balloons and satellites and tried to connect them with information on volcanic activity and meteorological changes that influence the depletion.
The results show that the ozone layer starts to recover and to gain back the amplitude disrupted by the hole.
One major setback was in 2015 when the eruption of a Chilean volcano determined a sudden increase of the ozone hole. The explanation was that the volcano released small particles in the atmosphere which increased the density of polar clouds that host human-made chlorine.
The study sees the positive trend as a result of the fact that the existing chlorine started to dissipate into the atmosphere. The authors even think that by mid-century, the ozone hole will be eventually permanently close.
The change in Earth’s atmosphere was created by the collaboration between scientists, diplomats and industry representatives, which all contributed to Earth’s healing.
Image Source: YouTube