A new study carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and based on the data collected from the Aura satellite claims that a decline in the ozone-depleting chemicals has resulted in a 20 per cent less depletion of the ozone layer since 2005.
The study, which is published in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that the depletion of the ozone layer had reduced specifically due to a decline in chlorine levels by 0.8 per cent each year between 2005 and 2016.
Susan Strahan, lead author and atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, said, “We see very clearly that chlorine from [chlorofluorocarbons] is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it.”
The chlorofluorocarbons, referred by Strahan, are the ozone depleting chemicals that are used in aerosol sprays, blowing agents for foams and packing materials, and refrigerators.
The CFC’s are broken down into chlorine by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thus causing the depletion.
The ozone layer hole was first discovered in 1980s and soon enough, the whole world joined in to solve the problem. The Montreal Pact was signed by several nations, which would ultimately ban the CFCs and the chemicals responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.
NASA’s latest announcement came in November where it said that the layer measured was now smallest since that in 1988.
“This is very close to what our model predicts we should see for this amount of chlorine decline. This gives us confidence that the decrease in ozone depletion through mid-September shown by data is due to the declining levels of chlorine coming from CFCs,” added Strahan.
Anne Douglas, co-author and atmospheric scientist at Goddard, said, “As far as the ozone hole being gone, we’re looking at 2060 or 2080. And even then, there might still be a small hole.”
The ozone layer protects the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiations which can cause skin cancer and cataracts, supress immune systems and harm plants.