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Given the constant barrage of grim press about global warming, it is nice to hear some positive news. Earlier this week, a newly released report indicated that our depleting Ozone layer is being replenished, a little faster than had been originally anticipated.
The report, a collaboration effort of 300 scientists from the United Nations Environmental Program and the UN World Meteorological Organization, stated that the Ozone layer would to be full restored to the 1980 level by around 2050. The only unfortunate news is the seasonal hole above the South Pole, which seems to be taking longer to recover and may even get further aggravated by climate change.
The Ozone layer is a thin layer in our stratosphere, about 13 to 20km above the Earth's surface, that contains a relatively high concentration of Ozone (O3). This layer is extremely important to our well-being since it absorbs 97-99% of the sun's harmful high frequency ultraviolet light, which causes sunburn, skin cancers and cataracts and also damages vegetation.
In the 1970's scientists raised a warning flag, after noticing a seasonal hole that appeared in the Ozone layer above the Antarctica. By the early 1980's, they identified the main culprit to be chlorofluorocarbons or CFC's, which were used largely in refrigeration, aerosol sprays and some packing foam.
In a rare show of unity, 196 countries from all across the world came together and signed the Montreal Protocol, banning the use of CFC's to try reverse the process and restore the Ozone layer.
Since some of these substances are also potent greenhouse gases, and contribute to climate change, banning them has also been an advantage for global warming.
What's most heartening however, is that because everyone decided to do their part, we were able to reverse a potentially catastrophic event. We can probably do the same to avert the effects of global warming - If, we all do our part!
Sources: cosmosmagazine.com,dailymail.co.uk, physorg.com