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"But we have to keep an eye on the ozone layer and its function as a UV filter in the heavily populated mid-latitudes and tropics", he says.

The Ozone layer has been reducing since the year 1970s.Keeping this in mind government authorities all over the world came together and passed a law named the Montreal protocol, which prohibited using some man-made chemicals.

Researchers conducted an analysis on 11 different locations and gathered information which helped them create a subtle model of the ozone throughout the last 30 years.

The stratosphere stretches from 10km above the Earth to 50km and ozone is slowly rising in the upper stratosphere, back towards the levels seen before CFC chemicals caused their damage.

But a new study has shown that while it is recovering in Antarctica, where it was worst depleted, the ozone layer is thinning in the lower stratosphere over non-polar areas.

"The potential for harm in lower latitudes may actually be worse than at the poles", she said.

The cause of the decline is unknown but might be the result of global warming. A big part of this layer is in the lower portion of the stratosphere, where it absorbs much of the sun's UV radiation.

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During the study, the researcher's team detected that Ozone layer in the stratosphere is not recovering as expected, between 60 N and 60 S. Overall, the effects balance out but this means the ozone layer over the area studied is remaining in its depleted state.

Co-Author of the study, Professor Joanna Haigh, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London informed that Ozone has been seriously declining globally since the 1980s. "The decreases in ozone are less than we saw at the poles before the Montreal Protocol was enacted, but UV radiation is more intense in these regions". The scientists were somewhat surprised that the ozone is thinning out in the lower stratosphere because their models do not show this trend and CFCs continue to decline.

The other possibility is that very short-lived substances (VSLSs), which contain chlorine and bromine, could be destroying ozone in the lower stratosphere.

Scientists are not yet sure what accounts for this continuing decline but one explanation could be that climate change modifies the pattern of atmospheric circulation. The impact of the Protocol is undisputed, as evidenced by the trend reversal in the upper stratosphere and at the poles. The latter includes chemicals used in solvents, degreasing agents, and paint strippers. One is even used in the production of an ozone-friendly replacement for CFCs.

It was thought that very short-lived substances would not persist long enough in the atmosphere to reach the height of the stratosphere and affect ozone, but more research may be needed.

Today's publication combines the datasets of multiple global teams, connecting information from various satellite missions since 1985. The study, published today in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, says that the bottom part of the ozone layer has been decreasing, and this is particularly worrying for areas for populated areas around the equator.

The study was conducted by researchers from institutions in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the USA, Sweden, Canada and Finland, and included data gathered by satellite missions including those by NASA.


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