Ozone layer recovering at 1-3% per decade

Ozone above Antarctica in 2000 left and 2018

United Nations report says Earth's protective ozone layer is... Levels were found to be reduced in the 1980s, caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons, gases used in spray cans, fridges and insulation.

This is due to internationally agreed actions carried out under the historic Montreal Protocol, which came into being over 30 years ago.

Thanks to these bans, the ozone layer has been able to recover at a small but mighty rate of three percent per decade, meaning it may be repaired by the time we reach the 2060s.

The Montreal Protocol was finalized in 1987 in response to the realization that numerous chemicals used in aerosols, air conditioning systems, refrigerators, and industrial solvents were eroding the planet's stratosphere, creating a hole and allowing harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation to seep through the ozone layer.

Paul Newman of Nasa, joint chairman of...

As the ozone layer began to thin, more lifeforms, including humans, were exposed to stronger solar rays which increases the likelihood of cancer.

"Evidence presented by the authors shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3 percent per decade since 2000", UN Environment and the World Meteorological Organization said in a statement.

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Monday's report says the Northern Hemisphere's upper ozone layer should be repaired in the 2030s and the Southern Hemisphere's by mid-century.

This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at almost 9.6 million square miles (24.8 million square kilometers).

The UN had already hailed the success of the Protocol but the report said it was the first time that there were emerging indications that the Antarctic ozone hole had diminished in size and depth since 2000.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, he warned.

"We are only at a point where recovery may have started", Toon said, pointing to some ozone measurements that haven't increased yet.

However, while most of the banned gases have been phased out, the report found at least one violation of the protocol: an unexpected increase in production and emissions of CFC-11 from eastern Asia since 2012. "The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali amendment holds such promise for climate action in future". The Kigali Amendment to the Protocol, made in 2016, deals with phasing down the use of other substances like HFCs which are not ozone-depleting but are quite damaging for the climate due to its high global warming potential. Newman said we'll need to ensure that the replacements for these gases don't worsen global warming.

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