Ozone layer is recovering, thanks to climate change treaty signed over 30 years ago, finds study

Earth’s ozone layer, responsible for protecting the planet from Sun’s ultraviolet rays, has been healing and might even fully recover, a recent study has revealed.

The study, published in the science journal Nature, said that the recovering ozone hole might have been a result of the 1987 Montreal Protocol.

An international climate change treaty, the Montreal Protocol called for the phasing out of any substance that might harm the ozone layer.

A 2019 image of the slowly-shrinking ozone hole over the Antarctic. Image Courtesy: NOAA

Without the presence of the ozone-concentrated layer in the stratosphere, almost nothing would be able to survive on the planet.

Major depletion of the layer was attributed to the human use of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. The international treaty was adopted to ban the use of CFCs.

Antara Banerjee, who is the lead author of the study, spoke to The Independent regarding their findings. She is a CIRES Visiting Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder and works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The depleting ozone layer had impacted the air currents that flow towards both the North and South Pole. “The movement of these jet streams was found to have stopped since 2000 and might even be reversing,” she said.
Around the same time, Antara said the “CFCs from spray cans and refrigerants started to decline”.

She said this shows that climate change actions do work and “we can reverse the damage that we’ve already done to our planet”.

Now, her team hopes that if humans keep following the protocol, the ozone hole might recover fully though the recovery at different regions would happen at a different pace.