A Patch Made in Heaven
Ozone layer is recovering, a little
Remember the ozone layer? It’s doing better, thanks for asking. A report in Nature indicates that our layer of protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays has stabilized or increased slightly in the past decade. Thanks to human use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosols and refrigerants, scientists found in the 1980s that seasonal ozone levels were plunging. The new research finds that the ozone layer is recovering, but is unlikely to stabilize at pre-1980 levels, and won’t even get close until the end of the century. The ban on CFCs in the 1987 Montreal Protocol is credited with the recovery, but “[i]n another 50 years, chlorofluorocarbons won’t be the dominant factor controlling ozone,” says aptly named study co-author Betsy Weatherhead. “Instead, we think it will be factors like greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide, and methane.” Now where have we heard that before?