Earth’s protective ozone layer is but healing. At a pace that would completely repair the hole in Antarctica in about 43 years. A new United Nations report says.
In a once-every-four-year scientific assessment of recovery progress. Every nation in the world has agreed after more than 35 years to stop producing. The chemical that chomps into the ozone layer in Earth’s atmosphere. Which protects the planet from harmful radiation linked to skin. Cancer, cataracts and crop damage.
“In the upper stratosphere and in the ozone hole we see things getting better.” Said Paul Newman, vice president of scientific assessments.
Progress is slow, according to a report presented Monday. At the American Meteorological Society convention in Denver. According to the report, the global average amount of ozone 18 miles (30 kilometers). High in the atmosphere will not return to pre-1980 levels until the 2040s. And the Arctic won’t return to normal until 2045.
“Ozone action sets a precedent for climate action. Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can. And should be done as a matter of urgency – to move away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and limit temperature rise.” “World Meteorological Organization Secretary General Professor Petteri Talas said in a statement.
Signs of healing were reported four years ago but were slight and more preliminary. “These recovery numbers have been very solid,” Newman said.
Newman, chief earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Said the two main chemicals away from ozone are at low levels in the atmosphere. Chlorine levels fell 11.5% in 1993, and bromine. Which is more efficient at consuming ozone. But has lower levels in the air, fell 14.5% from its peak in 1999, the report said.
That bromine and chlorine levels “have stopped rising. And are coming down is a real testament to the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol,” Newman said.
“There has been a sea change in the way our society deals with ozone-depleting substances.” Said scientific panel co-chair David W. Fahey, director of the US National Oceanic. And Atmospheric Administration’s Chemical Sciences Lab.
Decades ago, people could go to a store and buy a can of refrigerant that eats away at ozone. Creating a hole in it and polluting the atmosphere, Fahey said. Now, not only are the substances banned. But they are no longer in people’s homes or cars, replaced by cleaner chemicals.
Natural weather patterns in the Antarctic also affect. The level of the ozone hole, which peaks in autumn. And over the past few years, the holes have gotten a little bigger because of that. But the trend is one of healing, Newman said.
It “saves 2 million people from skin cancer every year.” Inger Andersen, director of the United Nations Environment Program. Told The Associated Press in an email earlier this year.
Emissions of one of the chemicals banned a few years ago. Chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11), stopped shrinking and continued to rise.
A third generation of these chemicals, called HFCs, was banned. Afew years ago because it doesn’t eat into the ozone layer but is a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. The new report says the ban could avoid 0.5 to 0.9 degrees of excess warming.
The report also warned that efforts to cool the planet. By placing aerosols in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight would thin the ozone layer in Antarctica by up to 20%.