The wound to the ozone layer above Antarctica, a menace to most of the marine food chain, is showing signs of healing. ASciencepaper reporting the news suggests we may be seeing the back of one of the worst environmental threats humanity has faced, and a vindication of the international cooperation that addressed the problem.
Many of the gasses humanity once used to propel our aerosol cans, refrigerate our food and even clean electronic equipment can, upon reaching the stratosphere, catalyze the destruction of ozone molecules at high altitude. Fears that this would expose the planet to lethal doses of ultraviolet radiation led to only limited actionwhen they were raised in the 1970s. However, when it emerged that atmospheric conditions were enhancing this effect over Antarctica every spring, the world moved with a speed that's sadly lacking on more recent challenges.
Nevertheless, 29 years after the signing of the Montreal Protocol to address the problem, scientists are still unsure if things are getting better. According to a team led by Professor Susan Solomon of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, signs that the hole has started shrinking are there if you know where to look.
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