Antarctic Ozone Hole is Disappearing

Ozone layer over the Antarctic has finally begun to ‘heal’ after persisting for years.

The scientists said that in September 2015 the hole was around 4 million sq. km smaller than it was in the year 2000 – an area roughly the size of India.

According to this scientific data, an ozone increase in the icy region suggests the Montreal Protocol signed nearly three decades ago to limit the use of substances responsible for ozone depletion, is having a positive effect.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, came into effect in 1989 and was an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out CFCs.

Ozone hole is healing

In October 2015 the Antarctic ozone hole reached a record size. Susan Solomon, a Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at MIT and her colleagues examined polar trends since 2000, using a combination of direct ozone measurements and model calculations.

They identified several consistent signals of ‘healing’ in the Antarctic ozone layer, particularly in the month of September, when they found regular, seasonal increases in ozone column amounts.

“After an eruption, volcanic sulphur forms tiny particles and those are the seeds for Polar Stratospheric Clouds,” Prof Solomon told.

“This is the first convincing evidence that the healing of the Antarctic ozone hole has now started,” said Dr Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.

The researchers also evaluated changes in ozone health caused by natural factors including volcanic eruptions.

They say that since about 2005, eruptions have delayed healing and made a large contribution to the inter-annual variability in ozone loss in recent years.

“Right now the state of the ozone layer is still really bad, but I find it very important that we know the Montreal Protocol is working and has an effect on the size of the hole and that is a big step forward.”, added Dr Markus Rex.

“This was an era in which international co-operation went rather well on some issues. I was inspired by the way the developed and developing countries were able to work together on dealing with the ozone hole,” said Prof Solomon.

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