`Earth’s Ozone Layer Expected to Completely Rebound by 2040, Report Finds - Olive Oil Times

Earth’s Ozone Layer Expected to Completely Rebound by 2040, Report Finds

By Costas Vasilopoulos
Feb. 2, 2023 13:29 UTC

An assess­ment com­piled by the United Nations and other inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions has found that the hole in the ozone layer, con­sid­ered the most sig­nif­i­cant envi­ron­men­tal emer­gency of the 1980s, is expected to be com­pletely repaired in most of the world by 2040.

The assess­ment also found that the ozone layer loss in the Arctic and Antarctic should be healed between 2045 and 2065.

Ozone layer holes, thin regions of the ozone layer in Earth’s stratos­phere, occur yearly in both hemi­spheres. The phe­nom­e­non is more pro­nounced in the polar regions.

Depletion of the ozone layer allows ultra­vi­o­let radi­a­tion from the sun to reach the Earth’s sur­face, caus­ing poten­tial harm to humans and ani­mals alike.

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According to the E.U.’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, the ozone hole over the south­ern hemi­sphere reached a max­i­mum size of 28.4 mil­lion square kilo­me­ters (an area equiv­a­lent to almost seven times the ter­ri­tory of the E.U.) in September 2000. It stopped increas­ing in size in sub­se­quent years.

The U.N. assess­ment attrib­uted the pre­dicted suc­cess of restor­ing the Earth’s ozone layer to the Montreal Protocol of 1987. This was an inter­na­tional agree­ment aimed at elim­i­nat­ing ozone-deplet­ing chem­i­cals, such as CFCs (chlo­ro­flu­o­ro­car­bons), com­monly found in fridges, air con­di­tion­ers and spray cans.

“[The Montreal agree­ment should be con­sid­ered] the most suc­cess­ful envi­ron­men­tal treaty in his­tory and offers encour­age­ment that coun­tries of the world can come together and decide an out­come and act on it,” said David Fahey, a sci­en­tist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the lead author of the assess­ment.

Experts also believe the actions taken by nations to restore the planet’s ozone layer can be used as a guide for tack­ling cli­mate change.

Ozone action sets a prece­dent for cli­mate action,” said Petteri Taalas, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the World Meteorological Organization. Our suc­cess in phas­ing out ozone-eat­ing chem­i­cals shows us what can and must be done as a mat­ter of urgency to tran­si­tion away from fos­sil fuels, reduce green­house gasses and so limit tem­per­a­ture increase.”

According to Fahey, how­ever, reduc­ing fos­sil fuel emis­sions requires a much more deci­sive approach than CFCs.

Carbon diox­ide is another order of mag­ni­tude when it comes to its longevity, which is sober­ing,” he said. Getting every per­son on the planet to stop burn­ing fos­sil fuels is a vastly dif­fer­ent chal­lenge.”

The assess­men­t’s authors also warned that pro­posed strate­gies to mit­i­gate global warm­ing, such as spray­ing mil­lions of tons of sul­fur diox­ide in the stratos­phere (a tech­nique known as a stratos­pheric aerosol injec­tion), could adversely impact the ozone lay­er’s recov­ery.


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