According to the American space agency NASA, the world’s ozone layer is slowly recovering. A report states that, for the first time, scientists have observed a decrease in the amount of chlorine in the ozone layer over Antarctica.
Ozone in the atmosphere is essential because it protects life on our planet by absorbing dangerous ultraviolet radiation, which causes skin cancer and damages plant life. Is the 1980s, scientists discovered a hole in the ozone layer, which has become larger ever since. It is especially large over the Antarctic continent and Australia.
Shortly after the discovery, an international agreement, the Montreal Protocol, was signed, banning the use of substances that are responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer. It limits the use of CFCs, chemical compounds that rise into the upper layers of the atmosphere where they are broken down by the sun’s ultraviolet light. In the process, chlorine is released which destroys the ozone molecules.
Since the ban has taken effect major companies have started looking for alternatives to CFCs.
Changes in the ozone level are usually measured during the Antarctic winter, between July and September, when temperatures are lower and results are more accurate. Since 2005, there has been a 20% rise in the amount of ozone. Even though it is the first time that the hole in the ozone layer has become smaller it will take decades to recover completely.
Environmentalists around the world have welcomed the announcement, stating that we can actually save the environment by acting decisively.
- absorb = take something in
- according to = as reported by …
- accurate = exact
- act decisively = to do something about a problem
- agreement = promise by two or more countries to take action
- announcement = official statement
- atmosphere = mixture of gases that surrounds a planet
- ban = forbid
- break down = chemical change
- cancer = serious disease in which cells in your body grow in an uncontrolled way
- CFCs = chlorofluorocarbons = a gas used in refrigerators and spray cans; they are responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer
- chlorine = greenish-yellow gas with a strong smell, that is also used to keep swimming pools clean; it is one of the gases that are responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer
- completely = fully
- compound = substance containing two or more atoms
- decade = ten years
- decrease = when something goes down
- destruction = when something is damaged completely
- discover = find for the first time
- environmentalist = person who cares about nature and the world we live in
- especially = above all
- essential = very important and necessary
- even though = true, but other things are true too
- limit = control, check
- measure = to find out how big something is
- molecule = smallest unit made up of two or more atoms
- observe = watch closely
- protect = to keep something safe
- recover = to return to a normal condition
- release = set free
- responsible = the reason for
- scientist= person who is trained in science and works in a lab
- sign = put your name on a document
- state = say in public
- substances = elements; material
- take effect = start
- ultraviolet radiation= light that comes from the sun but cannot be seen; it makes your skin darker
- welcome = to be glad that something has happened