Study shows evidence of Antarctic's ozone holes starting to heal
Scientists have gathered evidence that Antarctic's ozone hole is now finally starting to heal, stating that there has been decreasing levels of substances like chloroflourocarbons (CFC's) that cause ozone depletion. Stating that these carbons have a lifetime of 50-100 years, it will promise only a slow healing process, the study said. It also cites a growing worry of volcanoes causing further depletion.
What is an ozone hole?
An ozone hole is created as a consequence of heavy depletion or thinning of the ozone layer in the stratosphere, especially during peak winter or in exceptionally cold regions like Antarctica. This effect would help harmful ultraviolet rays penetrate, resulting in multiple health hazards.
What causes the depletion of the ozone layer?
The production of chemicals that contain chlorine or bromine has been known to alarmingly cause a quick depletion of the ozone molecules. These carbons are those being used in refrigerators, air conditioners, aerosols, chemicals used in fire extinguishers and industrial products, etc. The worrying aspect of these carbons is the fact that they have a lifetime of up to 100 years in the atmosphere.
The aftermath of an ozone layer depletion
A depleting ozone layer has dire consequences and multiple health hazards, even resulting in skin cancer due to the harmful ultraviolet rays that permeate through the atmosphere. Increasing levels of UV rays would cause an ecological imbalance, affecting the growth and development amongst plants and animals. It also adversely affects marine life, causing the death of plankton that essentially act as food.
What is the Montreal Protocol?
The Montreal Protocol was a treaty signed to help enable a global ban on production of substances that deplete the ozone layer, causing its thinning and creating an ozone hole. It was signed on September 16, 1987 and came into force on January 1, 1989.
The ozone hole and its history
The first ever occurrence of an ozone layer depletion had been discovered in the early 1980's, when scientists had observed that the protective layer had been depleted by around 10%. The study was later published in 1985, after which the Montreal Protocol was signed. A reading in October 2015 recorded the biggest ozone hole, and researchers believe it was caused due to volcanic activity.
The growth of the ozone layer
Scientists studying the ozone layer obtained data from satellites and weather balloons, enabling them to note that the thinning of the ozone layer had decreased by 4 million sq. km. over the span of fifteen years, from 2000 to 2015.