The hole in the ozone layer will be mostly gone by around 2040 due to restrictions placed on chlorofluorocarbons, a Japanese research team said Tuesday.
In the 1980s, the ozone layer, which protects animals and plants from dangerous ultraviolet rays, started to deplete above the South Pole.
CFCs are efficient at eating away the ozone layer.
“What influences the South Pole is not global warming, but chlorine in the atmosphere that mostly originates from CFCs,” said Tatsuya Nagashima of the National Institute for Environmental Studies.
The study was carried out by Nagashima and Masaaki Takahashi, a professor at the Center for Climate System Research at the University of Tokyo. It will soon be published in the academic journal American Geophysical Union.
The team’s findings are different from those of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration as well as other institutions, which have predicted the hole will continue to grow until after 2050.
The team used a supercomputer to predict changes in the ozone layer above the South Pole and the North Pole while the restrictions on CFCs are in place.
Based on detailed calculations on atmospheric movement and chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere, they concluded that the ozone layer will mostly recover.
According to their findings, the amount of ozone over the South Pole will not change over the next 15 years. However, it will suddenly rise in the late 2030s before recovering around 2040.
Over the North Pole, where destruction of the ozone layer is not as serious, the amount of ozone will decrease until 2010, after which it will mostly remain unchanged, according to the researchers.
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