According to a new study by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the big ozone hole in the Southern Hemisphere will be a thing of the past by 2040. Approximately three decades following the 1987 Montreal Protocol agreement–an international ban on all ozone-depleting substances–went into effect; the large ozone hole in the earth’s atmosphere over Antarctica which formed during the winter months is now slowly repairing itself.
The ozone layer is what absorbs the majority of the ultraviolet B radiation from the sun. An excess of ultraviolet B radiation can cause eye cataracts and skin cancer in both humans and other mammals.
The improvement in the ozone layer, which is naturally several miles think, is credited to the man-made chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons are breaking down in the earth’s atmosphere slowly now and are actually having less of an impact on the ozone hole’s changing size, which is also influenced by natural changes in sunlight and temperature.
The scientists also noted that the ozone hole, currently nearly 12.5 million square miles, has remained larger than 8 million square miles since the early 1990s with the exact size changing from year to year.
More recently, a team of research scientists were able to get a much more accurate picture of the ozone hole’s future size by utilizing NASA’s AURA satellite. Specifically, the investigative team used the satellite to establish just how much the level of man-made chemicals in the atmosphere changed on an annual basis.
The resulting data gave the scientific research team confidence to officially state that the ozone hole will continue to be less than 8 million square miles by the year 2040. They also announced that they will continue to employ satellites such as AURA to continue to monitor the slow recovery of the ozone hole. They concluded that they hope it will be fully recovered “before the end of the century.”
Big Ozone Hole Will Be Gone by 2040