One of lime and one of sand. Although we just met the results of the latest Copernicus program reportwhich states that 2022 has been the fifth hottest year for as long as records exist, this week has also been a place for good environmental news. And it is that, according to the most recent data of the World Meteorological Organizationthe hole in the ozone layerHe is recovering at a very good rate. So much, that for 2040 could have regenerated in most of the world, to 2045 over the Arctic and in 2066 in the Antarctic, where it currently has its greatest extent.
This type of data is collected once every four years since the agreement was signed in 1987. Montreal Protocol. In this, measures were established consisting of the prohibition of those substances that were depleting the ozone and, with this, it was possible for that dangerous hole to close little by little.
Since then there have been some steps back, with the appearance of new orifices. Nevertheless, has been recovering at a good paceas we have seen in each new report.
Ozone hole diggers
The ozone layer keeps us protected from most harmful radiation from the Sun. For this reason, the hole that began to form in it in the early 80s puts all the inhabitants of Earth in serious danger. For example, the probability of developing cancer by the alterations that these radiations cause in the DNA.
This led to many scientists trying to unravel the origin of the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s, to nip it in the bud and prevent further damage. The main research in this regard was carried out by chemists Mario Molina and Frank Sherwood Rowland. Both discovered that substances widely used in the manufacture of aerosols, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), they were gradually weakening this natural shield of the Earth. At first they were not taken very seriously, but over time they were found to be right to the point of awarding them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their research.
CFCs were banned in the Montreal Protocol and their use gradually declined around the world, with very positive consequences on the hole in the ozone layer. Unfortunately, his first replacements were hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)which do not affect the ozone layer, but they can promote the global warming.
After discovering the negative effects of HFCs, they have been gradually regulated, without losing sight of the hole in the ozone layer. this topic too it is dealt with in the last reportin which it is concluded that, thanks to HFC containment measures, the global temperature could be reduced between 0.3°C and 0.5°C.
This would therefore be another positive point. But there is also some darkness in the report. And it is that an appeal is made about the danger of a measure that precisely aims to reduce global warming.
It’s about the stratospheric aerosol injection. This is a desperate engineering action, consisting, as its name suggests, of injecting an aerosol into the stratosphere aimed at reducing the temperature. This is achieved thanks to a darkening similar to that caused by the ash emissions of some volcanoes.
It would not be an ongoing action, but a temporary measure to cushion the rapid rise in global temperatures. It has not yet been done, but it is being studied to carry it out with various substances, including sulfur dioxide. And this is a problem, because the rate of progress of global warming could be reduced, but it would damage our protective shield.
A new hole in the ozone layer is a very expensive price, especially now that it seems that its closure is closer. Therefore, the ideal would be to be able to carry out both battles in parallel, without one hindering the other. Hopefully humanity does not see itself in the position of having to decide. Drink environmental decisions sometimes we are not very good at it.
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The closing of the hole in the ozone layer already has a date if we continue like this