The Ozone Layer Above Cities Is Deteriorating, Warn Scientists

Protective ozone layer is recovering but not over populated areas

As per the new report published on Tuesday in the European Geosciences Union journal Atmosphere, Chemistry and Physics informed that the protective Ozone layer is not recovering at more populated latitude.

After it was discovered that man-made chemicals were drastically damaging the global ozone, the 1987 Montreal Protocol was established to phase out the likes of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

For the study, the team made a record on ozone layer for 30 years by combining measurements of atmospheric ozone from 11 different datasets.

The ozone layer, which protects life on earth from harmful ultra-violet radiation, continues to deplete on a global scale contrary to recent scientific assumptions, say an worldwide team of scientists led by researchers in Zurich. In one side, the banning of CFCs is helping to recovery at the poles but the same law is not appearing very helpful for the lower latitude. The cause is now unknown, Phys.org reports. These substances were banned in 1989 in accordance with the Montreal Protocol and since then the ozone layer in the upper stratosphere has recovered significantly, particularly in the polar regions.

During the study, the researcher's team detected that Ozone layer in the stratosphere is not recovering as expected, between 60 N and 60 S. The effect was worst in the Antarctic, where an ozone "hole" formed.

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Prof. Joanna Haigh, co-director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, is co-author of the study.

The cause of this decline is not certain, although the authors suggest a couple of possibilities. "Although the Montreal protocol has done what we wanted it to do in the upper stratosphere, there are other things going on that we don't understand", Haigh said.

The scientists aren't entirely sure what's causing atmospheric deterioration but suspect it has something to do with climate change shifting the pattern of atmospheric circulation and the release of very short-lived substances (VSLSs) into the Earth's atmosphere.

The chemicals that are used as solvents, including paint strippers and degreasing agents could be the reason behind Earth's ozone shield depleting.

William Ball, an atmospheric scientist at ETH Zurich university in Switzerland, who led the new research, said: "The finding of declining low-latitude ozone is surprising, since our current best atmospheric circulation models do not predict this effect". One of such chemicals is actually used to create a CFC replacement. "These short-lived substances could be an insufficiently considered factor in the models", says Ball.

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In the 1970s it came to know that, CFCs was severely affecting and destroying the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

Dr Ball said: "The study is an example of the concerted worldwide effort to monitor and understand what is happening with the ozone layer; many people and organisations prepared the underlying data, without which the analysis would not have been possible".

Today's publication combines the datasets of multiple global teams, connecting information from various satellite missions since 1985.

The study was the work of researchers from Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the U.S., Sweden, Canada and Finland, and included data from satellite missions, including by NASA.

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