A recent NASA study links the recovery of the ozone layer to changes set forth in the Montreal Protocol accords of the 1980s, showing that careful policies and decisions can lead to change on a massive scale. The new study is the first to measure the chemical composition within the ozone hole, and it definitively links the reduction of banned or heavily regulated CFCs with the improvement.
The Montreal Protocol outlines a plan to eliminate the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances to limit their damage to the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer has proven more resilient that realized, but the elimination of CFCs will take decades before the hole disappears entirely. “As far as the ozone hole being gone, we’re looking at 2060 or 2080. And even then there might still be a small hole,” according to NASA.
In order to reach this goal, the refrigeration and freezer industry has to continue energy saving efforts with materials that are not harmful to the ozone layer.
What Causes Ozone Depletion and Holes?
Roughly 80 percent of the ozone layer depletion is linked to CFCs. The remaining 20 percent is also due to manmade causes. Chlorine and bromine effect the ozone layer in their natural form, and cause an additional two percent of the damage done. The reason scientists measure this has to do with the ozone layer’s impact on daily life. In order to survive as a species, we require a certain level of oxygen in the atmosphere.
To preserve our ability to survive, industry and government partner to ensure that a 90-percent absorption of UV light in the 200nm-310nm range is possible. Depletion of ozone reduces the protection provided by the atmosphere from the sun’s deadly rays.
What Can Be Done?
Here is what can still be done to keep our atmosphere intact and literally save our breath:
- Reduce ozone depletion from man-made sources through government and industry partnership
- Continue large-scale cooperation between governments and industry to protect the planet.
- Innovative approaches to constantly decreasing the gases that lead to ozone depletion.
Whether this trend continues depends on many things, including innovation and ingenuity from designers of refrigerators and freezers that still rely on the technology.
Action Needed in Refrigeration Industry
The challenge for the industry is to develop refrigerators and freezers that are more energy efficient and that use refrigerants that don’t negatively impact ozone in the atmosphere. Any strides in this area go beyond cool points and touch upon our survival as a species.