Ozone hole may heal 
Scientists claim that the ozone layer hole seems to have stopped widening and it may recover fully in 60 years

Dr David Hofman and Dr. Susan Solomon, two of the scientists who helped alert the world to the existence of a hole in the ozone layer have said that they were hopeful that the ozone layer was recovering. "Iím very optimistic that we will have a normal ozone layer sometime, not in my lifetime, but perhaps in yours," BBC quoted Dr David Hofman, who works for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as saying.

Dr Solomon of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change however, added that a lot still needed to be done by the scientific community to counter this threat. "Thereís a lot more to be done from a scientific perspective in terms of what I would call accountability.

I think itís very important to make sure that we actually measure ozoneó not only not getting any worse, but actually starting to improve, to be sure that the actions we have taken internationally have been effective," she said while presenting their findings to mark the 20th anniversary of their first research alerting the world to the problems of ozone-depleting CFCs.

Hofman said the phasing out of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) from products such as aerosol sprays and refrigerators had led to a vast improvement in the ozone layer adding they were hoping the hole may "heal" fully over the next 60 years.

Ozone is a molecule that is composed of three oxygen atoms. It is responsible for filtering out harmful ultra-violet radiation (less than 290 nanometers) from the Sun.

The gas is constantly being made and destroyed in the stratosphere, about 30 km (19 miles) above the Earth. In an unpolluted atmosphere, this cycle of production and decomposition is in equilibrium.

But CFCs and the other Montreal-restricted chemicals rise into the stratosphere where they are broken down by the Sunís rays. Chlorine and bromine atoms released from the man-made products then act as catalysts to decompose ozone.

The production of CFC and other chemicals responsible for depleting the ozone layer was restricted by the Montreal Protocol, which became effective in 1987. óANI