The Trial Lawyer Winter 2018 - Page 83

Ozone depletion reached its peak during the late 1990s, when approximately 10 percent of the ozone layer had disappeared. Since the turn of the present century however, it has been returning at an average rate of two percent per decade. protection of the biosphere from the sun’s deadly ultraviolet rays. One of the consequences of the deterioration of the ozone is an alarming rise in the rate of melanoma over the past three decades, particularly among males. Ozone depletion reached its peak during the late 1990s, when approximately 10 percent of the ozone layer had disappeared. Since the turn of the present century however, it has been returning at an average rate of two percent per decade. While this represents significant progress, the work is far from completed. Owen Toon, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder, says, “We are only at a point where recovery may have started.” Part of that problem is the discovery of emissions of banned CFCs originating in eastern Asia. It is also likely that increased ozone layers will accelerate global warming, as it makes the atmosphere better able to retain heat. The next step will be to replace non-CFC coolants currently in use with substitutes that do not affect the atmosphere when these are phased out starting in 2019.