Global Warming: it is one of the many environmental factors contributing to the destruction and disappearance of Earth's Ozone layer, that up until recently, it was thought to be getting better.
Scientists recently have detected an unexpected decrease in the lower part of the stratospheric ozone layer, which has resulted in offsetting its recovery.
To understand what this means we first need to understand what the ozone is and what it does. The Ozone, which sits in the lower part of the stratosphere and contains not two but three oxygen molecules, helps protect life on earth from strong UV rays that come from the sun.
The question is, what started its decline and how did we let it get so bad? Well, we may not have known at the time but the burning of a lot of fossil fuel during the industrial revolution without regulation, may not have been the start but much earlier than we thought, it is possible that it started almost 180 years before.
Although, it wasn't until the 1970s that the damage was discovered and something was done about it. In 1974, scientists began hypothesizing that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were the cause of the thining of the ozone layer over Antartica.
So, in 1987, countries from all over the world met and agreed upon the Montreal Protocol, in which they agreed to phase out the use of CFCs that were discovered to be destroying the ozone and work towards healing the hole.
And it was working!! That is up until scientists decided to focus on the lower latitudes, where humans live and found a fairly small decline in the ozone. There, they discovered a new compound, dichloromethane, which is used in many of our products.
Other human-related causes include the excessive use of products that contain chlorine and bromine. These are known as ozone-depleting products or ODS.
Of course, Humans aren't the only ones contributing as there are a few natural causes too. These things include Sun-spots and stratospheric winds but only make-up about 1-2% of depletion and seem to only be temporary.
And now you're probably asking, well is there a solution to all of this? And yes there is. And you can do simple things to help out, for example, buy and use energy-efficient appliances like fluorescent light bulbs or plant trees because they absorb UV rays and are good for the environment too! If, you are interested in more things to do go here.
While the ozone layer is improving since the Montreal Protocol, it still has many years before it is repaired.