Ozone showing signs of recovery as per new United Nations report

Ozone above Antarctica in 2000 left and 2018

This combination of images made available by NASA shows areas of low ozone above Antarctica on September 2000 left and September 2018

There is an ongoing healing of the ozone layer, findings of a new UN-backed report released on Monday, have shown.

High in the atmosphere, ozone shields Earth from ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

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 Montreal Protocol was finalized in 1987 in response to the realization that numerous chemicals used in aerosols, air conditioning systems, refrigerators, and industrial solvents were eroding the planet's stratosphere, creating a hole and allowing harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation to seep through the ozone layer.

"We're raising a flag to the global community to say, 'This is what's going on, and it is taking us away from timely recovery of the ozone layer, '" NOAA scientist Stephen Montzka, the study's lead author, said in a statement at the time.

And if recovery rates continue as they are predicted to do, the report says the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone should be fully recovered by the 2030s, the Southern Hemisphere ozone in the 2050s, and the polar regions before 2060.

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

Scientists at the United Nations believe the depleted ozone will make a full recovery in the northern hemisphere by 2030, and by 2060 for the southern hemisphere.




'If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects.

Experts credit a 1987 treaty that banned ozone-depleting chemicals along with new technology for this global environmental success story.

However, the report did note there is evidence of an increase in CFC-11 - an ozone depleting chemical - from eastern Asia since 2012. "Most potential is in increasing the energy efficiency of these appliances as 80% of the emissions are due to the use of electricity and 20% due to the release of the refrigerants", said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

It said the Antarctic ozone hole is expected to gradually close, returning to 1980 levels in the 2060s.

Next year, the Protocol is set to be strengthened with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which calls for decreasing the future use of powerful climate-warming gases, which also damage the ozone layer.

Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, described the Montreal Protocol as "one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history".

'I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060, ' he said.

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