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Recovery of the Ozone Layer

 

Source: DTE

Context:  World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has released a bulletin (after 7 years gap) indicating a steady recovery of the ozone layer, particularly over the Antarctic region.

 

About Ozone Layer:

The ozone layer or ozone shield is a region of Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It contains a high concentration of ozone (O3) in relation to other parts of the atmosphere, although still small in relation to other gases in the lower part of the stratosphere (15-35 Km above the surface of the earth)

 

Key findings:

  • Montreal Protocol and its amendments are successful in eliminating up to 99% of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) (long-lived man-made chemicals which destroy the protective ozone layer)
  • It highlights the impact of climate change, which is slowing down the recovery process and affecting the lower atmosphere’s climate.
  • The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano (in the southern Pacific) in January 2022 increased water vapour content in the stratosphere, leading to reduced ozone in the lower stratosphere of the southern hemisphere.
  • This additional water vapour is expected to result in more polar stratospheric clouds, enhanced ozone depletion, and larger and longer-lasting “ozone holes” in the future.
  • It highlights the importance of monitoring and protecting the ozone layer due to its crucial role in shielding life on Earth from harmful solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation.