The Weather Channel
A hole in our atmosphere more than twice the size of the United States is finally beginning to close up, and might even be completely gone by the end of the century, according to a new study by NASA scientists.
The report was published in the journal Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. In short, it tells us that the measures taken to heal our ozone layer are, and will be, successful.
It's been about 30 years since scientists discovered the massive hole above Antarctica – a hole that was created by releasing chlorofluorocarbons into the air, National Geographic reported. Since the alarming find, there has been an international movement to reduce the size of that hole, including a ban on CFCs.
According to the new report, the ozone hole has been at least 8 million square miles in size every year since 1990, but if estimates are correct, the hole should shrink and remain consistently smaller by the 2040s. By 2100, the hole could be completely gone, the study added.
"With this new information, we can look into the future and say with confidence that ozone holes will be consistently smaller than 8 million square miles by 2040," Susan Strahan, a senior research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a video about the study. "And that will really be a milestone that we're finally past the era of big ozone holes."
The successful movement to restore the ozone layer has drawn parallels to another recent environmental struggle – climate change. But according to some scientists, the restoration of ozone over Antarctica might have negative effects on global warming.
"Ozone itself is a greenhouse gas. A thinner ozone layer not only reduced heat trapped over the region, it helped stir circumpolar winds, which in turn created sea spray that formed reflective, cooling clouds," said the National Geographic report.
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