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Home / Science / More protection: UN says the ozone layer is healing the earth

More protection: UN says the ozone layer is healing the earth



Posted: Nov 5, 2018 8:00 AM Updated: Nov 5, 2018 08:06 [WST]

WASHINGTON (AP) – Earth's protective ozone layer eventually heals from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolant New United Nations report said.

The ozone layer has been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientists have raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals have been abolished worldwide.

Therefore, the upper ozone layer over the northern hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s, and the gaping ozone hole of the Antarctic should disappear in the 2060s. A scientific assessment was released on Monday at a conference in Quito (Ecuador). The southern hemisphere remains somewhat behind and its ozone layer should be cured by the middle of the century.

"It's really good news," said co-chair Paul Newman, senior earth scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "If ozone depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen tremendous impact, and we stopped that."

High in the atmosphere, ozone protects the earth from ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems. The use of artificial chemicals, the so-called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which release chlorine and bromine, began to dissolve in ozone. In 1

987, countries around the world agreed to phase out CFCs under the Montreal Protocol, and companies replaced spray cans and other uses.

In the worst case of the late 1990s, about 10 percent of the upper ozone layer was depleted, Newman said. Since 2000, it has risen by about 1 to 3 percent per decade.

This year, the ozone hole at the South Pole reached almost 24.8 million square kilometers. This is about 16 percent less than the largest recorded hole – 29.6 million square kilometers in 2006.

The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears in late December until the next spring of the southern hemisphere, according to Newman

The ozone layer begins at a distance of approximately 10 km above the earth and stretches for almost 40 km. Ozone is a colorless combination of three oxygen atoms.

If nothing had stopped the thinning out, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

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

"We are only at a point where recovery could have started," Toon said, pointing to some ozone measurements that have not yet risen.

Another problem is that the new technology has detected an increase in emissions of a banned CFC from East Asia, the report said.

And the replacement now used to cool cars and refrigerators needs to be replaced with chemicals. Do not tighten global warming, Newman said. An amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which will come into force next year, would restrict the use of some of these gases.

"I do not think we can drive a winning round by 2060," Newman said. "That will be for our grandchildren."

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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears.

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Associated Press's Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science Education. All content is the sole responsibility of the AP.


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