Talking about the hole in our ozone layer, we need to travel back to about 4 decades ago, or exactly on September 16 1987 when the Montreal Protocol was adopted. It has been a huge breakthrough and brought the change to our world ever since.
It was about all 197 parties participating in the United Nations agreed to protect the ozone layers. It took seven years after the scientists realized that man-made chemicals were destroying the ozone layers, and with the Montreal Protocol we decided to stop using it.
We know ozone layer plays important rule to protect us from harmful radiation from the space. However, before 1980s, we didn’t really realize that our own actions were actually destroying it little by little.
Now, four decades after the initiation, what’s the condition of our ozone layer? Here, in this article we will talk about it.
The Hole in Ozone Layer
First thing first, let’s talk about how can our actions led to a hole in the ozone layer. What to blame is of course the dangerous chemicals we released to the atmosphere such as chlorofluorocarbons, halons, methyl bromide and methyl chloroform.
All of those chemicals contain chlorine or bromine atoms, and in case the chemicals are exposed to UV light, they will release the atoms. In this case, when those atoms come in contact with ozone layers in the stratosphere, they ‘decay’ the ozone molecules.
Don’t you know that a single chlorine atom can decay more than 100,000 ozone molecules? This is the reason why even though ozone layers can heal itself, constant addition of the harmful chemicals would still destroy them faster.
Back in the days, those chemicals were used in many stuffs starting from hair sprays, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Fortunately, we have fought the harmful chemicals and nowadays the hole is shrinking in a state that it would eventually be closed.
Yes, we have the good news here. The shrinking ozone hole would eventually come to a close. After the final ban of those chemicals in 2010, we basically contribute only a tiny amount of those chemicals to the atmosphere. So, should we celebrate it yet?
The Closing Hole in Ozone Layer
A study conducted by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States discovered something heartwarming. The researchers found that level of harmful chemicals floating in the stratosphere has dropped by 50%.
In other words, compared to in 1980s when the fact that harmful chemicals destroy our ozone layer discovered, we only have the half of it nowadays. The researchers said that this is an important and significant milestone.
With the help of Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, researchers continue to monitor the holes, especially the one floating over antarctica. For your information, every year a hole appears over the continent, and that’s why formation of new holes and existing holes can be monitored.
“The 2022 Antarctic ozone hole started to develop in late August and has so far followed similar trends from the last decade in terms of area, minimum total column, mass deficit and minimum temperature,” told Vincent-Henri Peuch, Director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service to Euro News Green.
“According to our data from the start of September, the size of the ozone hole is within the average range. However, we will be watching very closely in the next few weeks as the 2020 and 2021 ozone holes only started to become exceptional later on,” he continued.
The Tree Factors
What can make the whole world support the action to tackle ozone layer depletion? Even scientists and politician were hand in hand with each other, which is a rare occurrence. According to Susan Solomon, a researcher with NOAA said that there are three factors that help us to tackle the ozone layer depletion.
The first is being satellite imagery that can produce vivid images of the ozone holes and make it perceptible to scientists studying it. Visual observation of ozone hole is very important to make important decisions toward what should we do.
The second is how people take the bad news personally because they are informed about the truth. People understand that depletion of ozone layer can be bad for their health, thus they willingly support the decision to make things better.
And the third is how fortunate we are that the depletion of ozone layer can be solved with practical solutions. Companies started to replace the ozone-depleting substances immediately after the international ban for it, and that’s impactful.
To Continue Declining
So, when will the ozone layer finally heal itself completely? According to researchers, in the good thing will happen around or before 2070s. Therefore, before it actually happens, we need to keep guarding the progress we have made so far.
This is a great news to hear, since for long we have been exposed to news about how apocalyptic it can be if the ozone layer hole continues to spread wider. Fortunately, again, with global commitment to stop using the harmful chemicals, we can now focus on bringing betterment to other environmental issues instead.
But still, the hole in our ozone layer is not an issue that we can overlook. Had we still using the chemicals, nowadays we would be near to the massive ozone layer depletion instead of hearing the good news about it closing.
We have written many articles about ozone, even an article about how we can contribute to minimizing the ozone layer depletion. One of the things we can do is by controlling our meat and cheese intake.
Livestock is one of the greatest contributors in global warming because of its methane emission and deforestation done in the process. Not only that, nitrous oxide which is the byproduct of manure decomposition is an ozone-depleting compound.
In fact, you don’t need to fully convert into vegan or vegetarian lifestyle in a zap to contribute in saving the ozone layer. You just have to control your meat intake while learning further about the process of how our daily lives can contribute to ozone layer depletion.
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