Something worked! The ozone hole is getting better.

Nature reports that our ban on CFCs might be working because the hole in the ozone layer is shrinking:

It’s the beginning of the end for the Antarctic ozone hole. A new analysis shows that, on average, the hole — which forms every Southern Hemisphere spring, letting in dangerous ultraviolet light — is smaller and appears later in the year than it did in 2000.

The 1987 global treaty called the Montreal Protocol sought to reduce the ozone hole by banning chlorofluorocarbons, chlorine-containing chemicals — used as refrigerants in products such as air conditioners — that accelerated ozone loss in the stratosphere. The study shows that it worked.

“We as a planet have avoided what would have been an environmental catastrophe,” says Susan Solomon, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and a pioneer in the field of Antarctic ozone loss. “Yay us!”

She and her colleagues report the finding on 30 June in Science.

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