While most people’s focus remains directed at the coronavirus pandemic, some good news has emerged: a hole in our ozone layer is now in recovery.
The hole—located above Antarctica—is continuing to recover and bringing changes in atmospheric circulation as a result, according to New Scientist.
Many dangerous changes are being brought to a halt in the atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere due to the ongoing recovery.
Ozone depletion began to bring air currents in the Southern Hemisphere further south in the 1980’s. This caused change in ocean currents and rainfall patterns.
Global News reported that the new changes suggest that a ban on producing ozone-depleting substances, called 1987 Montreal Protocol, is now having a positive effect on the world.
On Wednesday, a research paper released in Science Daily showed that the ozone layer has started recovery due to changing wind patterns.
Antara Banerjee and her colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder did the research and noted that the ozone layer in the Northern Hemisphere is on track to fully recover to its 1980s levels sometime in the 2030s. They added that in the Southern Hemisphere should return to that state by the 2050s. The Antarctic hole is expected to take longer and is estimated to recover by the 2060s.
The recovery is not in direct correlation to the coronavirus outbreak though positive changes on the environment are beginning to be seen as emissions are decreased around the world.
Economic activity has been drastically limited amid the rapid spread of coronavirus resulting in less CO2 emissions, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Severe Weather Europe conducted a study showing that the Northern Hemisphere’s colder months usually bring an increase in CO2 emissions though that hasn’t been the case this year.
“We are noticing an interesting development, as the CO2 levels are currently increasing at a much slower rate than expected,” authors of the study wrote.
“Looking at the last 12 months of CO2 data from Mauna Loa observatory (in Hawaii), we can see the CO2 rise last year and this season, which shows slower growth than expected.”
University of Colorado climate scientist Kris Karnauskis suggested that the reduced emissions could be linked with the limited economic activity due to the pandemic though he was not certain.
“I’m not certain this is caused by #COVID19 but there have only been two years since 1975 when CO2 rose less since the first of the year,” Karnauskas wrote on Twitter.
A large decline in air pollution can be seen in countries that are implementing extreme lockdown precautions, such as China and Italy.