You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Earth's ozone layer is HEALING as a huge reduction in damaging chemicals in the atmosphere reverses some troubling changes in air currents around the Southern Hemisphere

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 3/26/2020 Ryan Morrison For Mailonline
This image made available by NASA shows a map of a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Last year the hole had its smallest peak since 1987 © Provided by Daily Mail This image made available by NASA shows a map of a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Last year the hole had its smallest peak since 1987

A hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is healing and in turn reversing changes it caused to the flow of winds over the southern hemisphere, a study discovers.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder say this is due in part to a ban on ozone depleting substances (ODS) in the 1980s.

The biggest impact can be seen in the southern hemisphere jet steam - it had been moving further south due to ozone depletion, but that appears to be reversing.

Antara Banerjee, lead author, says this is likely only a temporary change due to the impact of rising carbon dioxide levels and more ODS coming from China. 

Before 2000 the mid-latitude jet stream had been gradually shifting towards the South Pole and another hurricane-causing jet stream was getting wider.

This was changing rainfall patterns and ocean currents in the southern hemisphere and causing countries like Australia to suffer severe drought.

Researchers used a range of computer simulations to show the jet stream stopped moving south at the same time as the ozone hole began healing. 

In Australia changes to the jet stream led to an increased risk of drought by pushing rain away from coastal areas. 

If the jet stream reverses its southwards movement it could bring those rains back to the country. 

Last year the Antarctic ozone hole hit its smallest annual peak on record - since it was discovered in 1982 - but it's a temporary fix.

Scientists say this may be due to unusually mild temperatures in that layer of the atmosphere.

a palm tree: The moving of jet streams further south, caused by the ozone hole, was leading to increased droughts in places like Australia but the reverse could see rains return © Provided by Daily Mail The moving of jet streams further south, caused by the ozone hole, was leading to increased droughts in places like Australia but the reverse could see rains return

There has also been a surge in ozone-depleting chemicals coming from industrial regions of China, the team confirmed.

'We term this a "pause" because the poleward circulation trends might resume, stay flat, or reverse,' says Banerjee.

'It's the tug of war between the opposing effects of ozone recovery and rising greenhouse gases that will determine future trends'

She said the biggest discovery from their study was the proof that a global protocol like the one in Montreal that banned ODS can pause or reverse environmental harm.  

The study was published in the journal Nature

Read more

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon