NASA research shows CFC ban is helping ozone hole recover

Ozone depletion is on the decline, according to NASA, which has announced that scientists have demonstrated a particular aspect of this via a satellite instrument for the first time. According to the instrument, which was made by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, chlorine atom levels are decreasing and with that comes a decrease in their destruction of the ozone layer. The favorable change is the direct result of international bans on chlorofluorocarbons, NASA says.

Chlorofluorocarbons, more commonly referred to as CFCs, is a type of chemical produced by humans that has a harmful effect on the ozone layer. An international ban on CFCs is aimed at protecting the ozone layer, and this new data proves that it is working. In a recent release, NASA explained that the Antarctic winter has seen a 20-percent decrease in ozone depletion versus what was observed in 2005.

The space agency explains that 2005 was the first year that chlorine and ozone measurements were taken during the Antarctic winter; that itself was done with NASA's Aura satellite. The Antarctic ozone hole, meanwhile, was discovered back in 1985, leading to the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Later on, the Protocol was updated to eliminate CFCs, which are harmful due to the chlorine atoms that are released when CFCs rise to the stratosphere and get broken down by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. The chlorine atoms destroy the ozone molecules, damaging the ozone layer which helps protect Earth's various life from that same ultraviolet radiation.

This latest research is notable not just for showing that ozone depletion is decreasing, but also specifically linking that decrease to curbed CFC usage. Check out the NASA video above for a demonstration of the CFC -> chlorine atom transition as well as a brief explanation of the findings.