The Earth's ozone layer is gradually recovering. This is stated in a report published on Thursday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Experts predict a complete recovery of the ozone layer in most parts of the atmosphere in the coming decades.

According to the WMO, in 2022, ozone accumulations in the tropics and subtropics exceeded the norm, while in higher latitudes, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, ozone accumulations were below normal. The ozone layer protects life on Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation, so ozone observations are crucial for human and environmental safety.


The success of the Montreal Protocol

The WMO believes that the recovery of the ozone layer is due to a sharp decrease in the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances based on the Montreal Protocol and its amendments. The WMO representatives emphasize the need for further study of long-term changes in the ozone layer.

"I am proud of the important role that WMO continues to play," Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization, said on Thursday. – The success of the Montreal Protocol can inspire the world to solve many other global environmental problems through collective action backed by scientific evidence. Unfortunately, climate change is slowing down the recovery of the ozone layer."


Antarctic Ozone Hole

According to the authors of the WMO report, in 2022 the Antarctic ozone hole appeared relatively late, in September, and had a relatively large extent and depth in October and November. The delay and reduction of the ozone mass deficit in early September are considered key evidence that the ozone layer is beginning to recover.


The eruption of the volcano changed the stratosphere

The eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Haapai volcano in the South Pacific Ocean in January 2022 was the largest event of its kind in the last 100 years. The volcano has thrown ice and water vapor into the upper stratosphere.

The eruption increased the water vapor content in the stratosphere by 5-10 percent, which, in turn, caused a significant cooling of the stratosphere over the Southern hemisphere. Water vapor led to a decrease in the amount of ozone in the lower stratosphere of the Southern hemisphere in 2022.

Over the next few winters, an increased content of water vapor and aerosol suspension in polar vortices is expected, which theoretically can lead to an increase in the number of polar stratospheric clouds, increased depletion of ozone and the appearance of larger and longer-lasting "ozone holes".

PHOTO © NASA - The ozone layer is clearly visible from space.

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