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Ozone layer reaches 'significant' milestone on way to recovery

Ozone layer reaches 'significant' milestone on way to recovery

Scientists have predicted a pretty exciting recovery to the ozone layer

The recovery of the Earth's ozone layer has just hit a 'significant milestone', and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists reckon they've discovered exactly why.

The ozone layer is a region of Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation.

In plain terms, the ozone layer is effectively the most important thing that blocks the harmful ultraviolet radiation from affecting humans or other living creatures on the planet.

The ozone layer absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation.
Naeblys / Alamy Stock Photo

A NASA publication discusses the issue in further detail, explaining: "Without ozone, the Sun’s intense UV radiation would sterilize the Earth’s surface.

"With a weakening of this shield, more intense UV-B and UV-A radiation exposure at the surface would lead to quicker sunburns, skin cancer, and even reduced crop yields in plants."

However, during the 20th century, the impact of human emissions severely damaged the important ozone barrier leading to a huge hole opening up over Antarctica.

The hole in the ozone has since been discussed by climate change experts far and wide, with many pointing to how important its recovery truly is for the planet.

However, following recent research, the NOAA has found that 'concentrations of harmful chemicals that damage the ozone layer have dropped'.

Earlier this year, the scientists made a break-through discovery when they found that 'concentrations of harmful chemicals had declined by just over 50 percent in the mid-level of the stratosphere compared to the 1980s'.

This decline in man-made emissions including the likes of hairsprays, fridges and cleaning products is the first step in the ozone's recovery.

While this is great news for anyone planning to be on the planet over the next 100 years, the scientists also noted the recovery is not a 'forgone conclusion' as these dangerous emissions need to continue declining.

Melting glacier at Brown Bluff, Antarctica. / Alamy Stock Photo

When theorising a possible date that the Antarctic hole in the ozone layer could eventually recover, the NOAA predicted 'sometime around 2070'.

Until then, the Antarctic hole will be monitored using 3-D imaging technology by Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

Director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, Vincent-Henri Peuch, reported: “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."

Regardless, it's fair to say this is definitely a step in the right direction.

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Featured Image Credit: blickwinkel/Album/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Science, Climate Change