We have done so much damage to our planet that some actions are irreversible. Sadly, but true, we become aware of our actions only when nature fights back like the development of ozone holes in the atmosphere. The Ozone Layer is our protection from radiation coming from the harmful UV rays, and if it is destroyed the radiation will hit the surface of our planet.
Experts have been emphasizing the adverse effects of this damage and at the end they were carefully listened and developed the 1987 “Montreal Protocol”. The positive effects of this measurement are now felt as the Earth’s ozone layer recovers thanks to an inorganic molecule in the layer of the stratosphere that absorbs the harmful UV sunrays and reverses some of the damage.
The continuous decrease of the ozone layer became very alarming in the previous century that many countries got together and supported the 1987 “Montreal Protocol”. This protocol involved measures that lowered the use of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs). ODSs were commonly present in aerosol spray propellants, industrial solvents, refrigerants, and foam-blowing products like fire extinguishers.
After the initiation of this protocol the first positive results showed in the year 2000, namely the harmful traces in the stratosphere have started to lower, thus allowing the ozone layer to repair itself.
This Protocol is still effective and shows great results according to a conducted study published in the journal Nature. Its implementation has paused and reversed the environmental damage.
There is evidence for its positive effects that Antara Banerjee, the lead writer of the study, elaborates.
Banerjee is a CIRES Visiting Fellow from the University of Colorado Boulder, and also works in the Chemical Sciences Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who offers the following explanation:
“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, but 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.”
Scientists have applied numerous computer simulations based on certain patterns of observed natural wind changes or on the change in human-caused factors like emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
John Fyfe, one of the paper’s co-authors and a scientist from Environment and Climate Change Canada, explained that “identifying the ozone-driven pause in circulation trends in real-world observations confirms, for the first time, what the scientific ozone community has long predicted from theory.”
According to the findings of the conducted study “the only changes in ozone can lead to relevant changes in circulation, even with increased CO2 emissions and the continued expansion of circulation.”
However, scientists emphasize that this pause might be reversed due to the climate change and man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
“We term this a “pause” because the poleward circulation trends might resume, stay flat, or reverse. It’s the tug of war between the opposing effects of ozone recovery and rising greenhouse gases that will determine future trends.”
Let us hope that this trend will continue and that the ozone layer above the Northern hemisphere will drastically get better by the mid-2030s.