The Earth’s ozone layer has a major impact on the climatic experiences on the planet. While the depleting layer had rendered the air and ocean currents off their natural course over several decades, the horrible trend now seems to have come to a pause and might even be reversed in the coming years.
What has caused this trend to pause? The people of the world.
The good news comes as scientists observe that the ozone layer over Antarctica has recovered to the point that several atmospheric changes in the Earth’s southern hemisphere have come to a halt. Before the start of the century, the changes were enough to cause dramatic change in weather patterns in several parts of the world.
A new study now suggests that the reversing conditions or in more optimistic words, the healing of the Earth, can be accredited to the Montreal Protocol signed by the world leaders back in 1987. The pact directed nations across the globe to stop using ozone depleting substances (ODSs) for several applications.
However, it is important to note that the pattern has just paused and at best, slightly reverted to the norm. While the ODSs have been done away with, humans continue to produce excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that can lead to major climatic shifts.
By the time the pact came into effect, Ozone depletion had already caused the jet streams in the southern hemisphere to shift further south, causing changes in weather patterns and a dry spell in many areas accustomed to rainfall. This southward drift of the jet streams suddenly stopped after more than a decade of the Montreal Protocol, around the year 2000. Only last year, the Ozone layer hole over Antarctica was recorded to be at its smallest since 1982.
In a new study, researchers indicate that the check on ODS production had a hand in stopping this shift of jet streams to further south of the planet. Using simulations, the researchers have managed to show a distinctive relation between the Montreal Protocol and the migration of the jet stream.
So as the Earth continues regaining its natural course, it is yet to be seen how further human activities have an impact.