It has been just over 30 years since scientists first noticed a hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole. The ozone layer is an atmosphere protective layer that prevents harmful rays from the sun entering into the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists are now saying that they are witnessing the first signs of healing for the ozone layer.
Recent ozone hole measurements have revealed that the breach is now shrinking in size. It has shrunk more than 1.5 million mi.² which is approximately half the area of the United States. All of this has occurred since 2000. The reason for this recovery is attributed to the declining use of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). This chemical compound was previously used in refrigerators, dry cleaning, and aerosols. Chlorofluorocarbons were completely banned when the world signed an accord called the Montréal Protocol.
Scientists are now confident that positive things are being done towards healing the planet. Now that we have eliminated CFCs it is obvious that the planet is responding in a positive way. The ozone layer can extend between 2 to 19 miles above the surface of the earth. As mentioned previously, it protects our planet from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.
The hole in the ozone layer was discovered in 2000 when a group of scientists noticed that there was a drop in the total ozone above Antarctica. They continued to track this depletion each October. The reason why the measurements were in October was because ozone depletion begins in late August. As the Antarctica area emerges from its winter the hole will be completely formed by early October.
This time frame allows the scientists to achieve a clear picture of how the chlorine was affecting the ozone. The healing process will be slow and there is still a long way to go. Many scientists believe that it will take decades before there is a complete recovery. The good news however is that the recovery has begun.