Here’s another piece of positive news during the outbreak of the coronavirus. Scientists are confirming that the ozone layer is continuing to heal itself. Back in 1987, the Montreal Protocol was agreed upon with the purpose of protecting the ozone layer and offers a helping hand in repairing itself, and according to a study which was released this week, it has confirmed that this protocol is working.
If you don’t know, or unsure what the ozone layer is, it’s the area which covers the earth’s atmosphere which absorbs the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) radiation, and preventing it hitting the surface of the earth. Therefore mentioned treaty was created to help protect the ozone layer by branching out the creation of many harmful materials responsible of the depletion of ozone.
There are many substances which are harmful to the ozone layer, and were most often found in aerosol spray propellants and foam-blowing agents such as fire extinguishers, industrial solvents, and in commercial and home refrigerants. Back in 2000, evidence was found that traces of these chemicals in the stratosphere had started to reduce, thus helping the much needed help for the ozone layer to repair itself.
Antara Banerjee, a CIRES Visiting Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder, the lead author of the new study, works in the Chemical Sciences Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), spoke about the evidence they found, saying: “This study adds to growing evidence showing the profound effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol. Not only has the treaty spurred healing of the ozone layer, it’s also driving recent changes in Southern Hemisphere air circulation patterns. The challenge in this study was proving our hypothesis that ozone recovery is in fact driving these atmospheric circulation changes and it isn’t just a coincidence.”
Even though with the fantastic news of the ozone layer repairing itself, we should not forget the issue the ever rising levels of greenhouse gases such as CO2 which is causing global warming. Even though these gases don’t play a direct role and affect the ozone layer, it plays a major part, and is the main cause behind global warming. Banerjee went on to add by saying: “It’s the tug of war between the opposing effects of ozone recovery and rising greenhouse gases that will determine future trends.”
Even though the ozone layer is on the mend, it definitely doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to reduce the carbon footprint that we make. However, with people across the globe going into isolation with the coronavirus outbreak, it does appear to be reducing our carbon footprint. All across London, with less and less people going out, the levels of NO2, which is mostly created from vehicle exhausts, and even levels particulate matter coming from road transport and burning fuel, have been said to be amazingly reduced. The same noticeable reduction has also been seen in Paris, Milan and Rome.
Therefore, we should keep doing our best to make positive changes, for a better tomorrow.