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The Ozone Layer Might Not Be Recovering Properly

06 February 2018

"We've detected unexpected decreases in the lower part of the stratospheric ozone layer, and the effect of this result is that it's offsetting the recovery in ozone that we had expected to see", said William Ball, a scientist with the Physical Meteorological Observatory in Davos, Switzerland.

"The potential for harm in lower latitudes may actually be worse than at the poles", she said.

Yet total ozone levels in the atmosphere remained the same and now scientists at the federal institute of technology ETH Zurich external linkshowed that this is because ozone in the lower stratosphere declined steadily over the past three decades. Back in 1970, scientists found out the chemicals called CFCs are depleting the ozone layer and after many years, the use of CFCs was banned globally. "The decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted, but UV radiation is more intense in these regions and more people live there", Joanna Haigh from Imperial College London, a coauthor on the study, said in another statement. Researchers revealed their findings in a study published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. But British scientists say that the bottom part of the ozone layer, which is over the more populated regions of the Earth, is not improving. The upper stratosphere at bringing down scopes is additionally hinting at clear recuperation, demonstrating the Montreal Protocol is functioning admirably.

The continuous depletion of Earth's Ozone Shield led scientists to sign the Montreal Protocol agreement in 1987. Another reason may be an altered pattern of atmospheric circulation caused by climate change, which is leading to more ozone to be carried away from the tropics. VSLSs incorporate chemicals utilized as solvents, paint strippers, and as decreasing operators.

One is even used in the production of an ozone-friendly replacement for CFCs.

William Ball, an atmospheric researcher at ETH Zurich and the first author of the study, explains that this had been so hard to demonstrate because so-called "summer smog" caused by human activity "masks the stratospheric decline in the satellite measurements". He suspects that very short-lived substances might have managed to reach the stratosphere and have resulted in the depletion of ozone layer.

The team developed new algorithms to integrate the efforts of worldwide teams working since 1985.

They used the data to "create a robust, long time series". They found that from 1998 to 2016, ozone in the lower stratosphere ebbed by 2.2 Dobson units-a measure of ozone thickness-even as concentrations in the upper stratosphere rose by about 0.8 Dobson units. The ozone layer - part of Earth's atmosphere which absorbs most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation - is not made of ozone entirely.

They also say it is important to determine what the cause most likely is, for example by looking for the presence of VSLSs in the stratosphere.

Dr. Justin Alsing from the Flatiron Institute in NY, who went up against a noteworthy part in creating and actualizing the measurable procedure used to join the information, stated: "This examination was conceivable as a result of a lot of cross-disciplinary coordinated effort".

The Ozone Layer Might Not Be Recovering Properly