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Ozone Layer Is Gradually Healing, Scientists Finally Confirm

First Posted: Jul 04, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

Good News for planet Earth and all its inhabitants! Scientists have reportedly discovered that the vast hole in the Antarctic ozone layer is starting to close. The confirmation of a healing ozone layer was made by a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in US and UK's University of Leeds.

According to a new study published in the journal Science, the average size of the ozone hole has been found to be shrinking. As per the analysis of annual measurements taken in September, it has gone down in size by more than 1.7 million square miles since 2000. Furthermore, the scientists have predicted that by 2050 the ozone hole above the South Pole will be permanently closed.

The success of the healing process of the ozone layer is being attributed to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which levied a ban on the use of chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerators and aerosols. The ozone layer protects life on our planet from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, and a hole in the protective layer was first discovered in the 1950s with the help of ground based data. By the 1980s, researchers from the British Antarctic survey observed a continuous drop in the October total ozone, from then the hole steadily became larger, reaching the maximum measurement of 15 million square miles in 2000, after which it has remained constant at this size for the past 15 years.

Now, a new modelling system by the researchers has shown that the latest spikes in ozone depletion were actually the result of volcanic eruptions rather than atmospheric chlorine, and that the ozone layer is actually shrinking. "We can now be confident that the things we have done have put the planet on a path to heal," said lead researcher Professor Susan Solomon of MIT. "We decided collectively, as a world, 'Let's get rid of these molecules'. We got rid of them, and now we are seeing the planet respond". Incidentally, the growth in the ozone layer starts every year from August, when the sun makes a return to the South Polar cap, with the peak growth taking place in October.

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