Earth's protective ozone layer is finally healing

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According to the new report, the upper layer of ozone above the Northern Hemisphere should be fully repaired by the 2030s, while the depleted ozone layer above the Southern Hemisphere will heal by the mid-2000s.

Scientists at the United Nations believe the depleted ozone will make a full recovery in the northern hemisphere by 2030, and by 2060 for the southern hemisphere. It is noted that the depletion of the ozone layer, which was first spotted in the 1970-ies by the year 2000 stopped, one reason for which was the compliance with the Montreal Protocol that bans the production of ozone-depleting compounds.

The report finds that the concentration of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere continues to decrease, leading to an improvement in the ozone layer since the previous assessment carried out in 2014.

But the United Nations has today said it is finally healing, with the Northern Hemisphere's upper ozone layer expected to be repaired in the 2030s.

CFCs used to be common in refrigerators, aerosol cans and dry-cleaning chemicals, but they were banned globally under the Montreal Protocol of 1987.

The scientific assessment, released at a conference in Ecuador today, was described as "really good news" by Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center. The purple and blue colors are where there is the least ozone, and the yellows and reds are where there is more ozone. It's unclear, however, how much more warming can be expected once the Antarctic ozone hole heals.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

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'We are only at a point where recovery may have started, ' Mr Toon said.

But the report, from the UN's environment and world meteorological organisation, said there is evidence of an unexpected increase in CFC-11 from eastern Asia since 2012. When the ozone layer is weakened, more UV rays can get through, making humans more prone to skin cancer, cataracts and other diseases.

"As a result of the Montreal Protocol much more severe ozone depletion in the polar regions has been avoided", the report said.

Next year, the Protocol is set to be strengthened with the ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which calls for decreasing the future use of powerful climate-warming gases, which also damage the ozone layer.

"I don't think we can do a victory lap until 2060", Newman told AP.

"The careful mix of authoritative science and collaborative action that has defined the Protocol for more than 30 years and was set to heal our ozone layer is precisely why the Kigali Amendment holds such promise for climate action in future", he said.

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