Ozone Deterioration Slows

ozone layer hole globe
The rate of destruction of the protective ozone layer in the upper reaches of the atmosphere is slowing, and scientists say it mirrors a decline in the use of certain man-made chemicals.

Using NASA satellite observations, the scientists say the rate of the ozone layer depletion matches the drop in chlorofluorocarbons, used in refrigeration and air conditioning. The 1987 Montreal Protocols, ratified by more than 170 countries, requires that CFCs be phased out of production and use in developing countries by 2010. Industrialized nations stopped using them in 1996.

Scientists said that it will take decades to repair the damage to the ozone layer, which helps protect the Earth from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

"Ozone is still decreasing but just not as fast," said Mike Newchurch, associate professor at the University of Alabama and lead scientist on the study. "We are still decades away from total ozone recovery."