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Ozone layer finally healing after damage caused by aerosols, United Nations says

09 November 2018

The study, "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018", is the latest in a series of reports, released every four years, which monitor the recovery of ozone in the stratosphere.

The report may send a positive signal to the global community which had joined hands in 1987 to end the use of ozone-depleting substances (CFCs, HCFCs and others) in refrigerators, air conditioners, aerosol cans and other related products by switching over to non-ozone depleting substances as refrigerants.

But it's not a complete success yet, said University of Colorado's Brian Toon, who wasn't part of the report.

If CFC-11 emissions continued at the same rate, return of mid-latitude and polar ozone-depleting chemicals to their 1980 values would be delayed by about 7 and 20 years, respectively, the report said. It's unclear, however, how much more warming can be expected once the Antarctic ozone hole heals.

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.

The hole in the Earth's ozone layer is expected to fully heal within 50 years, climate change experts predict in a new United Nations report.

Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and co-chair of the report, said: "It's really good news".

This healing progress is attributed to worldwide initiatives under the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement that was formed more than 30 years ago in response to climate change concerns. The study's findings indicated that the concentration of ozone-depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), has decreased in the ozone layer since 2014.

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The ozone layer is showing signs of continuing recovery from man-made damage and is likely to heal fully by 2060, new evidence shows.

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

The Kigali amendment to the Montreal protocol, coming into effect at the start of next year, will help reduce future climate change, by targeting HFC gases, mostly used in refrigeration, which have a warming effect tens of thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide. Newman said we'll need to ensure that the replacements for these gases don't worsen global warming.

Mr Newman added: "I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060, ' he said".

What is the ozone layer?

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The ozone layer shields Earth from the Sun's ultraviolet radiation.

"The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason", Erik Solheim, the head of UN Environment", said in the press release.

Ozone layer finally healing after damage caused by aerosols, United Nations says