Since the Montreal Protocol, which was confirmed in 1987, the hole in the ozone layer finally shrunk by 4 million square kilometers. This protocol called for action to reduce Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) in commercial and industrial use. The very reason to protect the ozone layer is protecting the humankind from detrimental ultraviolet rays from the sun.
According to the scientists in MIT, the ozone layer finally started to heal itself after 30 years. Susan Solomon, the first scientist in MIT to realize that chlorine can harm the ozone layer under specific temperature and sunlight conditions, recognized the healing process too:
We can now be confident that the things we’ve done have put the planet on a path to heal.”
When the hole in the ozone layer has decreased to a record size in September 2015. Ross Salawitch, a professor at the University of Maryland, thinks that this is due to the decreased use of the chlorofluorocarbons (CDC). These substances were released through aerosols, fridges, and old dry cleaning methods:
People thought we set a record for the depth of the ozone hole in October 2015. The Solomon paper explains it was due to a specific volcanic eruption. So without this paper, if all we had was the data, we would be scratching our heads — what was going on in 2015?”
During the shrinking of the ozone layer hole in the Arctic, Salawitch and his team found out that there has been a drastic decrease in the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere. The correlation between the shrinking of the ozone layer hole and decrease in CFCs confirms that the substances affect our atmosphere more than we think. Diane Ivy commented that a significant effect of the CFCs can be seen through the results.
At the end of all the data analysis, Susan Solomon is hopeful that this environmental issue can be resolved with continuous efforts in reducing the amount of CFCs. By extrapolating the results, the scientists estimate that the ozone layer hole will be closed by 2050, permanently.