Ozone layer's recovery is protecting wind systems

Ozone layer's recovery has halted changes to the atmospheric circulation made by climate warming in the southern hemisphere.


NSFW    BOULDER, COLORADO — The ozone layer's recovery is stopping changes in the atmospheric circulation systems of the Southern Hemisphere, according to new research.

Writing in a study published in Nature, researchers say the Montreal Protocol is curbing ozone depletion, a phenomenon responsible for Antarctica's ozone hole. This hole has disrupted atmospheric circulation in the southern hemisphere, including shifting the mid-latitude jet stream poleward.

The Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987 to phase out chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, from air conditioning, refrigerators and packaging. According to the study, the international accord's removal of CFC pollution has halted the jet stream's drift to the south.

Writing in a news release, the University of Colorado Boulder says its researchers believe climate warming is driving the jet stream to the Southern Pole. Ozone layer recovery exerts an opposite effect that has paused the shift.

According to the university, ozone depletion is also linked to the southward expansion of the Southern Hemisphere's tropical dry region, which affects rainfall in South America, East Africa and Australia.
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