Ozone layer recovering at 1-3% per decade

A view of the Los Angeles skyline from 4th Street Bridge in 2016

The researchers put the restrengthening of the ozone layer down to the 1987 Montreal Protocol which was an worldwide treaty that banned chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were found to be weakening the atmospheric layer.

However, if it could not be remedied the already slow recovery of the atmosphere's protective layer could be further delayed.

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

The measures taken to fix the damage will also have an important beneficial effect on climate change, as some of the gases that caused the ozone layer to thin and in places disappear also contribute to warming the atmosphere.

A new report from the United Nations states that the protective ozone layer of earth is finally recovering from damage caused by aerosol spray and coolants. It's unclear, however, how much more warming can be expected once the Antarctic ozone hole heals.

According to the study, ozone in areas of the stratosphere has recovered a a rate of one to three percent over the past 18 years, and if progress continues, the Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is projected to heal completely by the 2030s, while the Southern Hemisphere and polar regions are set to recover by the 2050s and 2060s, respectively.

But the United Nations has today said it is finally healing, with the Northern Hemisphere's upper ozone layer expected to be repaired in the 2030s.

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.

The study, "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018", was presented in Quito at the 30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

What is the ozone layer?

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"The Montreal protocol is one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history for a reason", said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. Writers of the report said if this amendment is ratified, Earth can avoid up to 0.4 percent of global warming in the 21st century. India is also bound by the Protocol and its amendment, but the country gets more time to get rid of such gases as compared to the window available to developed countries and China.

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

The assessment is being hailed as a demonstration of what global agreements can achieve, and an inspiration for more ambitious climate action to halt a potential catastrophic rise in world temperatures.

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