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Earth’s ozone layer on the road to recovery

The Earth’s protective ozone layer is showing signs of recovery, according to a major new study which included contributions from a leading atmospheric scientist at York.

Professor Lucy Carpenter from the Department of Chemistry played a key role in the report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Ozone Layer 2013. Image credit: NASA

Montreal Protocol

The study shows the rate of ozone depletion has not increased for over a decade, following the phase-out of ozone damaging substances including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons, once found in aerosol sprays, fridges and insulation foam. The ban was introduced in the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty agreed in 1987.

Professor Carpenter was a lead author for a major section of the assessment which examined the role of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and other gases included in the protocol. Some of the research underpinning the ozone assessment was carried out at York.

Important contribution

Professor Carpenter said: “Research in the Department of Chemistry has made an important contribution to the report by determining trends and abundances of ODSs and their substitutes in the atmosphere and by assessing the contributions of natural compounds to ozone depletion.”

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