When the nations of the world gathered in 1987 to discuss how to fix the hole in the ozone layer, they had no idea that two decades later they would be in a position to celebrate success. Just days ago, NASA confirmed that by banning the use of the chemical known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), there has been 20 percent less ozone depletion in the Antarctic.
First discovered in 1985, world leaders responded by signing a pact at the Montreal Protocol that committed each country to the phasing out CFCs, a chemical used in aerosols and refrigerants. Recently, according to a new study in the Geophysical Research Letters Journal, the banning of the chemical has slowly stopped the hole getting any bigger. The study used data retrieved from NASA’s Aura satellite, which showed 20 percent less depletion in the ozone in the Antarctic since 2005.
Author of the study, Susan Strahan explained in a statement:
“We see very clearly that chlorine from CFCs is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it.”
The hole in the ozone forms every September above the Antarctic due to the sun’s rays causing chlorine and bromine, chemicals found in CFCs, to react with the ozone layer.
By using the Aura satellite’s Microwave Limb Sounder, the team could analyse how much the ozone layer has changed over the years. The study was the first to prove the Montreal Protocol was working, with an approximate decline of 0.8 percent chlorine annually.
CFCs take around 50 to 100 years to disappear, making the elimination progress slow.he current hole, according to the study, may not be entirely recovered until the year 2060 or by some estimates as far away as 2080.
However after 2017, it’s finally time for some good news.
Lead Image: NASA