- According to recent findings, the hole in the ozone layer is shrinking
- It has shrunk by more than 4 million square kilometers
- Scientists predict that the hole in the ozone layer will permanently close by 2050
The hole in the ozone layer is staring to close, researchers from the University of Leeds and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have confirmed.
A fragile shield of gas called the ozone layer protects all life on Earth from powerful UV rays. Its absence increases the chances of skin cancer, cataract damage, and harm to humans, animals and plants.
The study, which is published in the journal Science, suggests that the average size of the ozone hole each year has shrunk by around 4 million square kilometers since 2000 . They found that more than half the shrinkage was due solely to the reduction in atmospheric chlorine.
The ozone’s recovery is attributed to the success of the 1987 Montreal Protocol – which banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that cause damage to the ozone layer. These chemical compounds were once emitted by dry cleaning processes, old refrigerators, and aerosols such as hairspray, as per an article published by BBC.
The ozone hole was discovered in 1985, which led to the Montreal Protocol two years later. From then on, scientists worldwide tracked the ozone depletion.
“We can now be confident that the things we’ve done have put the planet on a path to heal,” said Susan Solomon, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at MIT. “We decided collectively, as a world, ‘Let’s get rid of these molecules’. We got rid of them, and now we’re seeing the planet respond.”
As CFC levels continue to dissipate from the atmosphere, Solomon and her team of researchers predict that the damage in the ozone layer will gradually shrink and eventually close permanently by 2050.