We did it! Harmful chemicals in the ozone layer drop by 50%, NOAA says

Recovery of the Antarctic ozone layer is anticipated to take place sometime around 2070.
Nergis Firtina
Southern Hemisphere ozon levels

NOAA 

The depletion of the ozone layer had a huge impact on humanity for a while. Moreover, the United Nations accepted The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer in 1994.

Every living thing on Earth is shielded from UV radiation by the stratospheric ozone layer. Thus, the Ozone Layer is vital for all forms of life, and we need to protect it without a doubt.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) last report indicates that we're on the right track.

As they stated, in the mid-latitude stratosphere, NOAA discovered that global concentrations of the dangerous compounds that destroy the ozone layer have decreased by slightly over 50 percent to levels seen in 1980. The ongoing deterioration "shows the threat to the ozone layer slipping below a crucial milestone in 2022.

The area of the ozone hole over Antarctica is larger than the area of the United States, and it would take tens of millions of tons of ozone to replenish it. Even the cost of shipping this amount of ozone would be astronomical.

"This slow but steady progress over the past three decades was achieved by international compliance with controls on production and trade of ozone-depleting substances in the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer," explained NOAA.

Ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) over Antarctica, which sees a significant ozone hole in the spring, have been declining at a slower rate recently.

“It’s great to see this progress,” said Stephen Montzka, senior scientist for NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory.

“At the same time, it’s a bit humbling to realize that science is still a long way from being able to claim that the issue of ozone depletion is behind us.”

How did it start?

Ozone is a highly reactive molecule. About 90 percent of Earth's ozone resides in the stratosphere above the troposphere, the layer closest to Earth's surface.

Since the 1980s, when it was revealed that some synthetic chemicals were "seriously destroying" the ozone layer, scientists have been keeping a watchful eye on the atmosphere.

For the first and only time ever, every nation on Earth approved the Montreal Protocol, a convention to regulate chemicals for the protection of Earth, in 1987, barely seven years after the ozone depletion caused by chemicals was made most visible.

It's a long but promising road

The ozone layer over the Antarctic has not recovered as quickly as it has over the mid-latitudes, dropping by 26 percent from peak levels in the 1990s for various reasons, but mostly because of the air in the Antarctic stratosphere is older than that over the mid-latitudes.

The Antarctic 2022 index has decreased 26 percent from peak levels in the 1990s, and recovery of the Antarctic ozone layer is anticipated to take place sometime around 2070.

1985 was crucial for the Ozone Layer

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer is a multilateral environmental agreement that was reached in 1985 that established guidelines for decreased production of chlorofluorocarbons globally due to its role in the ozone layer disintegration and subsequent rise in skin cancer risk.

The background of the convention dates back 1970s. During the 1970s, research revealed that artificial chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere reduced and converted ozone molecules.

The threats posed by reduced ozone propelled the issue to the forefront of global climate issues, gaining support from organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations. The Vienna Convention was adopted at the 1985 Vienna Conference and went into effect in 1988.

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