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.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Receptionist

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss