Scientists at MIT have found evidence that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is finally beginning to heal. If progress continues, it should be closed permanently by 2050. Now, researchers using new longitudinal measurements have shown that the hole is finally starting to heal, and has shrunk by 4 million square kilometres since its peak in 2000. It did expand to a record size in 2015 due to the eruption of the Chilean volcano, Calbuco. The news comes almost 30 years since the world worked together to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals. The hole in the ozone layer was the environmental threat that everyone was worried about. After decades of pumping chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere – through dry cleaning, aerosols, and old refrigerators – scientists found that the ozone over Antarctica had become seriously thin. To combat the problem, most countries on the planet signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which was a global treaty that governed the gradual phase-out of CFCs and other ozone-damaging chemicals. The research, which has been published in Science, also shows that we can actually fix some of the damage we’ve done to the environment when we work together.
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