A year after scientists reported a shrinking of the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica, recent reports indicate it's 'returning with a vengeance.' Observations reported at the British Association science festival at Salford University last week indicate that the hole is now larger than it's ever been, reports Clive Cookson in London's Financial Times.
This comes as a surprise, given last year's report that the hole was smaller than it had been in a decade. According to Alan Rodger, who runs the British Antarctic Survey ozone-monitoring program, 'Last year's smaller hole should be regarded as an exceptional and clearly a one-off event' having 'nothing to do with any reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals.'
As a result of the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to phase out the use of CFCs and related compounds, the presence of ozone-depleting chemicals has subsided since 1994. But the levels of these chemicals in the stratosphere 'lag behind the surface by several years.' Rogers predicts that, as a result, it will take 'a decade or more before we can say unambiguously that the ozone hole is recovering -- assuming that the decline in ozone depleting chemicals continues.'
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