Amid the global lockdown imposed in view of the coronavirus pandemic, there is some good news!
The ozone layer seems to be recovering, a new study claims.
As the global efforts to contain the virus intensify, industries across the world have been abruptly shut. Even the economic costs of such an unplanned global shutdown are expected to be higher even than the Great Depression, there was simply no other way!
Our planet’s ozone layer protects living beings from ultraviolet radiation emerging from the sun. Over the last few decades, the layer had deteriorated tremendously.
In essence: no ozone layer means no life.
The use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) exasperated the ruination of the ozone layer. In fact, the damage was so intense that “Montreal protocol”, an international treaty was adopted to ban the unprecedented use of the gas.
Amid the shutdown, the whole world is experiencing lesser pollution, with videos of animals returning to their natural habitats making the rounds.
The study claims that new climate changes have been noticed in the southern atmosphere, especially pertaining to air circulation patterns.
The study is led by Antara Banerjee, a CIRES visiting fellow at the University of Colorado, who also works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In a conversation with The Independent, Banerjee claimed that the Montreal Protocol had immense positive effects on the reclamation of the ozone layer.
“The jet stream in the southern hemisphere was gradually shifting towards the south pole in the last decades of the 20th century due to ozone depletion… Our study found that movement has stopped since 2000 and might even be reversing. The pause in movement began around the same time that the ozone hole started to recover”, she told The Independent.
The emissions, which primarily came from CFCs witnessed a sharp decline around the year 2000.
“It’s not just ozone that affects the jet stream – CO2 also has an effect. What we are seeing is that there is a ‘tug-of-war’ between ozone recovery, which pulls the jet stream one way (to the North), and rising CO2, which pulls the other way (to the South)”, she added.
In conversation with The Independent, she added: “The second most important point of the study, which I would say is a very good finding, is further evidence that the ozone hole is shrinking and that is thanks to the Montreal Protocol.
“It shows that this international treaty has worked and we can reverse the damage that we’ve already done to our planet. That’s a lesson to us all that can hopefully be applied to our greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change.
“If we keep adhering to this protocol then the ozone hole is projected to recover – at different times, in different parts of the atmosphere. In some regions, we think it might happen in the next couple of decades and in others much later in the century.”