Ozone Layer Levels Have Recovered by 4%

| 11 Sep 2014 07:54

The hole in the ozone Layer caused by CFCs is slowly repairing itself.

Remember back when we found out that hairspray was making a massive hole in the ozone layer, right over Antarctica? Well, good news everyone! The hole is very slowly repairing itself, as a U.N. scientific panel has reported that ozone levels have increased by 4% from 2000 to 2013. While still around 6% lower than the levels in 1980, it's certainly a very noticeable improvement, and easily "one of the great success stories of international collective action in addressing a global environmental change phenomenon," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program.

Scientists in the panel said the development demonstrates that when the world comes together, it can counteract a brewing ecological crisis. "It's a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together," said chemist Mario Molina. In 1974, Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland wrote a scientific study forecasting the ozone depletion problem. They won the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work.

The ozone layer had been steadily depleting since some time in the 1970's, due to the use of chlorofluorocarbons - CFCs. CFCs release chlorine and bromine, which destroy ozone molecules high in the air. Scientists realized the damage we were causing with these chemicals, and in 1987 a treaty was signed by countries around the world to stop using CFCs.

In a somewhat ironic twist of fate, heat-trapping greenhouse gases - considered the major cause of global warming - are also helping to rebuild the ozone layer. The report said rising levels of carbon dioxide and other gases cool the upper stratosphere, and the cooler air increases the amount of ozone.

Source: AP News

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