While we are all reeling from the global pandemic gripping our planet, there is some good news coming out of it. The scientific community has established that the ozone hole is slowly healing itself.
The changing speeds of air current at extremely high altitudes, known as jet streams indicate the layer’s recovery. The ozone layer consists of the Ozone gas at the Ozonosphere which protects the earth from UV rays of the Sun.
The Montreal Protocol established in 1987, which prevented the use of ODSs to protect the Ozone layer seems to be working at last. The Ozone layer had depleted to worrying amounts, with a massive hole over Antarctica. The journal Nature highlights in a new study the success of this Protocol.
Antara Banerjee, one of the main authors who works at the NOAA spoke about how the Montreal Protocol was actually one of the biggest head-turners in the scientific industry. The effectiveness of the Protocol could actually be charted by the changes taking place in the air currents at the Southern Hemisphere.
The project used computer simulations to see if most of the wind changes were caused due to variations in nature, or due to human-induced events like a decrease in automobiles and industry-released air pollutants.
The biggest challenge the researchers faced was proving that the changes caused directly correlated to the healing of the Ozone layer and not just a massive coincidence. Also, the healing of the Ozone layer was what led to the massive shifts in air currents in the high altitudes.
While it was accepted that the high emission of CO2 did lead to an expansion in the near-surface circulation, it was strictly directed towards the poles.
Incidentally, most scientists are of the belief that this shift in circulation through a pause in Ozone depletion is what scientists have been trying to prove since ages. The real-world observations in the midst of this pandemic were a testimony to that.
But with CO2 emissions charting high above the normal emissions, scientists are worried that this progress will be undone in the coming years if strict measures aren’t taken. What remains to be seen is how this all works out after Coronavirus comes to a halt and normalcy returns on this planet.
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