Amid the flood of bad news of the past few days, behold, we have good news to share! A survey showed that the ozone layer is recovering and regenerating the circulation of winds throughout the planet, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, and the restoration appears to be associated with the measures agreed and put into action since the signing of the Montreal Protocol, in 1987.
The Montreal Protocol established guidelines to curb the manufacture and use of agents associated with the destruction of the ozone layer that surrounds the planet, including chlorofluorocarbons – substances popularly known as CFCs. In the early 2000s, there was a significant drop in the concentrations of these materials in the atmosphere, as well as the beginning of the recovery of the ozone layer on a global scale and the reduction of the colossal “hole” that existed there on Antarctica.
Now, the survey presented showed that, at the same time, the impact on the circulation of winds registered due to changes in the atmosphere caused by the use of substances involved in the rarefaction of the ozone layer began to normalize. More precisely, there was a pause in the migration of air currents towards the terrestrial poles and even a reversal in some of the anomalies in the wind patterns that had been registered until then.
Just so you can better understand the importance of this result, you may have heard of drafts known as “jet streams”, right? They circulate at high altitudes and speed between the troposphere and the stratosphere and flow towards the poles. Because, due to the rarefaction of the ozone layer, these currents had begun to circulate further south than normal in our hemisphere, thereby affecting rain patterns – and possibly even those of ocean currents, interfering, for their part. time, in the weather.
What the survey showed was that, just over 1 decade after the Montreal Protocol came into force, the displacement of jet streams stopped – and even reversed at some points – showing that the joint effort and global commitment to stopping the manufacture and emission of substances harmful to the ozone layer yielded excellent fruits.
But, although the results of the study deserve to be celebrated, it is important to mention that greenhouse gas emissions remain a serious problem. Furthermore, in recent years, an increase in the emission of other materials associated with the rarefaction of the ozone layer has been detected, especially in China, something that can affect the reversion of currents to normal patterns and, in the worst case, push back towards the poles.