A new study conducted by Antara Banerjee at the University of Colorado Boulder and her colleagues has found that the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is healing. The study shows that the recovery is leading to changes in atmospheric circulation and it is redirecting the wind flows around the globe.
The researchers used the data from satellite observations and climate simulations to show the changing wind patterns related to the layer’s recovery. The main reason for the healing is said to be the ban on the production of ozone-depleting substances as agreed in the Montreal Protocol agreed internationally in 1987.
A good sign
A scientific paper, published in Nature, highlights rare success in the reversal of environmental damage. The ozone layer protects Earth’s stratosphere by absorbing most of the ultraviolet radiation reaching us from the sun. The layer makes survival possible on the planet.
A belt of the mid-latitude jet stream had been gradually shifted towards the South Pole before 2000. Hadley cell, tropical jet stream responsible for trade winds, tropical rain-belts, hurricanes and subtropical deserts, had been getting wider. In 2000, these trends began to reverse slight, as suggested by the researchers.
As per Banerjee, there is a direct effect of the recovering ozone layer though this change cannot be understood with regard to random fluctuations in climate. The impact of the Montreal Protocol appears to have paused, or even slightly reversed, the southern migration of the jet stream.
In 2019, the ozone hole hit its smallest annual peak since 1982 and many believe that this record may have something to do with unusually mild temperatures in that layer of the atmosphere.
The Montreal Protocol certainly proves that global and immediate actions can help pause or even reverse some of the damage started by mankind to the atmosphere.