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Earth’s Ozone Layer Is Healing: UN

Another problem is that new technology has found an increase in emissions of a banned CFC out of East Asia, the report noted.

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Ozone layer
This combination of images made available by NASA shows areas of low ozone above Antarctica on Sept. 2000, left, and Sept. 2018. A United Nations report released on Nov. 5, 2018 says Earth’s protective ozone layer is finally healing after aerosol sprays and coolants ate away at it. VOA

Earth’s protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.

The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientist raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.

As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador. The Southern Hemisphere lags a bit and its ozone layer should be healed by mid-century.

“It’s really good news,” said report co-chairman Paul Newman, chief Earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that.”

ozone layer
Emissions of a banned chemical most responsible for the giant Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, according to a study which suggests that an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010 is being violated. Pixabay

High in the atmosphere, ozone shields Earth from ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, crop damage and other problems. Use of man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which release chlorine and bromine, began eating away at the ozone. In 1987, countries around the world agreed in the Montreal Protocol to phase out CFCs and businesses came up with replacements for spray cans and other uses.

At its worst in the late 1990s, about 10 percent of the upper ozone layer was depleted, said Newman. Since 2000, it has increased by about 1 to 3 percent per decade, the report said.

This year, the ozone hole over the South Pole peaked at nearly 9.6 million square miles (24.8 million square kilometers). That’s about 16 percent smaller than the biggest hole recorded – 11.4 million square miles (29.6 million square kilometers) in 2006.

The hole reaches its peak in September and October and disappears by late December until the next Southern Hemisphere spring, Newman said.

ozone layer
Chemical Emission is the main reason of the hole in Ozone layer above Antarctica. Pixabay

The ozone layer starts at about 6 miles (10 kilometers) above Earth and stretches for nearly 25 miles (40 kilometers); ozone is a colorless combination of three oxygen atoms.

If nothing had been done to stop the thinning, the world would have destroyed two-thirds of its ozone layer by 2065, Newman said.

But it’s not a complete success yet, said University of Colorado’s Brian Toon, who wasn’t part of the report.

“We are only at a point where recovery may have started,” Toon said, pointing to some ozone measurements that haven’t increased yet.

CO2, Antarctica, ozone layer
Carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle. Flickr

Another problem is that new technology has found an increase in emissions of a banned CFC out of East Asia, the report noted.

Also Read: No Definition Of Green-Firecrackers, Probably Too Late To Put A Check: Environmentalists

And the replacements now being used to cool cars and refrigerators need to be replaced themselves with chemicals that don’t worsen global warming, Newman said. An amendment to the Montreal Protocol that goes into effect next year would cut use of some of those gases.

“I don’t think we can do a victory lap until 2060,” Newman said. “That will be for our grandchildren to do.” (VOA)

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WMO: Earth Witnesses Record Breaking Temperature in June 2019

Nullis says the heat wave will affect millions of people from the Great Plains to the East Coast. She says temperatures of 38 to 43 degrees Celsius are expected

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june
June 2019 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles. (NOAA) (VOA)

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the world’s leading weather stations confirm the Earth has just had the warmest June on record, since record keeping began in 1880.

Meteorologists say nine of the 10 warmest Junes on record have occurred since 2010.  The 10th record-holder was in June 1998.  WMO says last month’s record-breaking temperatures were felt across the globe.  It says no land or ocean areas have recorded cold temperatures in June.

But WMO spokeswoman Claire Nullis says temperatures are only part of the story. “June saw the second-smallest Arctic sea ice extent for the month on record and the lowest Antarctic sea ice extent,” she said. “… There is a lot of concern this week about fires in Greenland as part of the unusual spike in Arctic blazes.”

june
Scientists say heatwaves such as the one Earth is currently experiencing are consistent with climate scenarios. Pixabay

Nullis notes Alert, Canada, the northernmost settlement on Earth, reached a high of 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time in history a few days ago.  And now, she says the U.S. National Weather Service is issuing warnings about dangerous heat and humidity through this weekend in two-thirds of the United States.

ALSO READ: New York Governor Signs Ambitious Climate Change Bill with Goal of Slashing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030

Nullis says the heat wave will affect millions of people from the Great Plains to the East Coast.  She says temperatures of 38 to 43 degrees Celsius are expected. “Twenty to 30 record high temperatures are expected and no relief at night is expected,” she said. “Again, the National Weather Service is predicting that about 123 minimum overnight temperature records may be tied or broken.”

Scientists say heatwaves such as the one Earth is currently experiencing are consistent with climate scenarios. They predict more frequent, drawn out and intense heat events as greenhouse gas concentrations lead to a rise in global temperatures. (VOA)