Ozone hole to start shrinking and will close in 50 years, say scientists

A A A

The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is about to start shrinking and will close by 2050, Australian researchers say. Government scientists at Cape Grim in Tasmania said scientific data showed the level of ozone-depleting chlorine in the atmosphere was declining because of the ban on the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in fridges and air conditioners, agreed under the Montreal Protocol in 1987.

Dr Paul Fraser, the chief atmospheric research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, said: "This is big news. We have been waiting for this. We think the trend is definite now. It is very significant."

Dr Fraser said that after the ban was adopted, the atmospheric level of chlorine continued to rise, peaking in 2000. "That was simply due to old refrigerators and old air-conditioners in cars," he says.

Since then, the level had stabilised and was now declining, albeit slowly, Dr Fraser said. He predicted that the hole in the ozone layer would contract steadily from about 2005 and disappear by mid-century, although the ozone would be vulnerable for a decade.

Under the Montreal Protocol, developing countries committed themselves to halving consumption and production of CFCs by 2005 and achieving an 85 per cent cut by 2007. The hole in the ozone layer, which protects Earth from the Sun's ultraviolet rays, was first detected nearly 30 years ago. It was then three times the size of Australia, itself covering nearly 3 million square miles.

In a reference to the international dissent over the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, Dr Fraser said: "I think this shows global protocols can work."

Earlier this month, Russia said it would ratify Kyoto, meaning that enough big carbon dioxide producers had signed up for it to take effect without America, which has refused to support it.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Newly Qualified Teachers

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently looking fo...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Job Share Year 3/4 Teacher...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments